Tautonyms and UK lockdown #3 bird and mammal log

The Latin names of some species are tautonyms, that is, the genus and species name are the same. For example, the tiny Eurasian wren is known as Troglodytes troglodytes (troglodyte means ‘cave-dweller’ and wrens have a tendency to forage in dark crevices).

A third lockdown period was announced in the UK from 6 January until at least 22 February 2021, in response to high infection and mortality rates of Covid-19. I am able to work from home, so for me the regulations mean staying at home with the exception of going out to buy essentials (food, medicine etc) and for exercise. Each day I go for a walk and, fortunate to be surrounded by lots of green space, I’ve challenged myself to find some UK bird species with tautonyms. I’m keeping a list of all the birds that I have seen, with tautonyms in bold. * indicates near my home, while the others were first sighted while staying with my support bubble.

  1. Aegithalos caudatus (long-tailed tit)
  2. Anas platyrhynchos (mallard)
  3. Anthus pratensis (meadow pippin)
  4. Ardea cinerea (grey heron)
  5. Buteo buteo (common buzzard)
  6. Carduelis carduelis (European goldfinch)
  7. Carduelis spinus (siskin)
  8. Columba palumbus (common wood pigeon)
  9. Corvus frugilegus (rook)
  10. Corvus monedula (jackdaw)
  11. Cyanistes caeruleus (blue tit)
  12. Cygnus cygnus (whooper swan) – not completely sure it was this species, as saw them flying while driving, but the mute swan is not a tautonym!
  13. Erithacus rubecula (European robin)
  14. Falco tinnunculus (common kestrel)
  15. Fringilla coelebs (common chaffinch)
  16. Fulica atra (coot)
  17. Garrulus glandarius (Eurasian jay)
  18. Larus canus (common gull)
  19. Mergus merganser (goosander)
  20. Milvus milvus (red kite)*
  21. Motacilla alba (pied wagtail)*
  22. Parus major (great tit)
  23. Passer domesticus (house sparrow)
  24. Passer montanus (tree sparrow)
  25. Perdix perdix (grey partridge)
  26. Periparus ater (coal tit)
  27. Phasianus colchicus (pheasant)
  28. Phylloscopus trochilus (willow warbler)*
  29. Pica pica (Eurasian magpie)*
  30. Prunella modularis (dunnock)
  31. Pyrrhula pyrrhula (Eurasian bullfinch)
  32. Regulus regulus (gold crest)
  33. Saxicola rubicola (European stone chat)
  34. Sitta europea (nuthatch)
  35. Streptopelia decaocto (collared dove)
  36. Sturnus vulgaris (starling)
  37. Sylvia atricapilla (blackcap)
  38. Troglodytes troglodytes (Eurasian wren)
  39. Turdus iliacus (redwing)
  40. Turdus pilaris (fieldfare)
  41. Turdus merula (black bird)
  42. Tyto alba (barn owl)
  43. Vanellus vanellus (Northern lapwing)

I have seen a few mammals during this lockdown too, including (with a few more tautonyms in bold):

  1. Capreolus capreolus (roe deer)
  2. Lepus europaeus (hare)
  3. Meles meles (badger)* skull
  4. Muntiacus reevesi (muntjac)*
  5. Mus musculus (house mouse)
  6. Mustela erminea (stoat)
  7. Oryctolagus cuniculus (rabbit)
  8. Rana temporaria (common frog)* spawn
  9. Rattus sp. (rat)
  10. Sciurus carolinensis (eastern grey squirrel)
  11. Vulpes vulpes (red fox)

Other UK bird species with tautonyms, which I have yet to see (and may never spot given where I am) in this lockdown, include:

  • Anser anser (greylag goose)
  • Apus apus (common swift)
  • Cinclus cinclus (White-throated dipper)
  • Coccothaustes coccothaustes (hawfinch)
  • Coturnix coturnix (common quail)
  • Crex crex (corn crake)
  • Gallinago gallinago (common snipe)
  • Lagopus lagopus (Willow ptarmigan)
  • Limosa limosa (black-tailed godwits)
  • Oenanthe oenanthe (northern wheatear)
  • Puffinus puffinus (Manx shearwater)
  • Phoenicurus phoenicurus (common redstart)
  • Porzana porzana (spotted crake)
  • Riparia riparia (sand martin)
  • Tadorna tadorna (common shelduck)
The gold crest, the UK’s smallest bird, feeding in a leafless hedgerow.


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