Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How the severe macaw got its name

In an earlier comment, Saemma had asked how the severe macaw got its name.  I supposed that the common name came from the scientific name "Ara severa" but that's not very helpful -- where did the scientific name come from?

I did some googling around and found a book called Dictionary of Birds in the US: Scientific and Common Names by Joel Ellis Holloway.  Google showed me p. 32 about the severe macaw, and here's what it said:

Ara -- part of the Tupi Indian word for macaw

Severa -- comes from Latin "severus" meaning stern, strict, or severe.  Reference is to the scolding call.

Personally, I don't find the severe macaw's call to be more scolding than that of any other macaw, but interesting nonetheless!

I think this book will be very interesting as we continue with our birding, so I'm going to purchase it.  I love etymology and parrot-related etymology is even better.  Thanks for the interesting question, Saemma!


Saemma said...

Thanks so much for looking into this! I really appreciate it!
I don't find that Rocky or my Mabel to be *stern* at all. In fact I find them both to be big Goofs!! Apparently it is because


and do check this out!

a sub species. Much heavier in weight. How much does Rocky weigh approximately? Mabel is quite dainty maybe under 305 grams.

Saemma said...

Here was the other site..