Birding

What is that Bird

18/02/2019
Taxonomy
A bird is a bird? But we humans need to put labels on collections or individuals.
The example of our name, mine is Arthur. I am not ‘just an Arthur’ I am an Arthur Beyless; there is only one of me, (thank goodness).
A name helps to simplify the process of identity.
So it is with animals and birds.
Do birds recognise each other or does a Robin attack another Robin if it is in his territory recognise that is another one like itself?
It does not attack a Blackbird?
Naming birds goes back such a long way. Many cultures have a name for a bird, so to talk to another bird watcher or ornithologist a standard needed to be invented so as we know we are talking about the same bird.
The science of naming groups of birds’ falls under the name of ‘Taxonomy’ whereby birds are grouped under their main characteristics called a ‘Taxa’. Before that system there was the cultural name which you can find in books around ‘History of Birds’ and a naming system pertaining to individuals.
The Latin language is used as this language, which in essence the language has not changed over time, and is world wide. So describing a bird to another birder in another country, by using the birds Taxa they would be able to recognise that bird.
This system was devised by Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778) Systema naturae between 1778 and 1793 called the Binomial nomenclature.
How Taxonomy works: The bird is grouped under different headings, sub headings, sub-sub headings etc.
LIFE KINGDOM PHYLUM CLASS ORDER FAMILY GENUS SPECIES
So our Robin becomes to be labelled:
LIFE Yes it is alive. KINGDOM Animalia (yes it is an animal) PHYLUM Chordata (animals with backbone) CLASS Aves (yes it is a bird) ORDER passerine (which characteristic is of a ‘perching bird’) which in Latin changes the ending with -iformes for a group. FAMILY Muscicaipidae GENUS Erythacus SPECIES E. rubecula
The Linnaeum system as it is now known is the scientific classification now mostly used in biological science.
Check this out in any up to date Bird Guide.
But now with the advent of DNA the classifications are going to be more refined. But, there is nothing to stop you describing and calling a bird as to how you think, Linnaeum classification makes things easier.