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Latin for Bird Lovers

By Roger Lederer and Carol Burr

Scientific names, those sometimes cumbersome binomial identifiers, can be more entertaining than we may imagine—a point driven home by Latin for Bird Lovers.

Wall Street Journal

In every scientific discipline there is an official language formed of words derived from Latin. Ornithology is a perfect example of how these words can be illuminating. Take Anas acuta, better known as the Northern Pintail, whose scientific name means duck and refers to the male bird's tail. Or pelagic (meaning of, related to, or occurring in sea), an important term for ocean-focused bird lovers.

Latin for Bird Lovers explores and explains over 3,000 Latin words used to describe birds. It is information that is invaluable to birdwatchers worldwide: the words help define the identity and relationships among the nearly 10,000 known bird species, as well as color, pattern, size, parts of the body, the name of the ornithologist who discovered the bird, where the bird is found, or even specific behavior. The book also profiles twelve great ornithologists, has in-depth features on 20 beloved birds, and is gorgeously illustrated.

Latin for Bird Lovers is for birdwatchers, nature lovers, and anyone interested in the words about birds.

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Media reviews

"Sheds light on some of the world's most colorful and interesting birds."

BirdWatching Magazine

"An entertaining book, suitable for leisurely reading or as a present."


"A stunning compendium. ... I'd add one entry: the Elegantem lederburr, meaning 'elegant work from two authors.'"

—Dan Barnett, Chico Enterprise-Record

"A beautiful book. The illustrations are exquisite and the colors are very vivid. ... This would be a wonderful reference book for the bird lover to have on hand."

Happy Little Bookworm

"Scientific names, those sometimes cumbersome binomial identifiers, can be more entertaining than we may imagine—a point driven home by Latin for Bird Lovers."

Wall Street Journal

"Gorgeous illustrations fill the pages, making this Latin-heavy guide flutter to life with every brush stroke. All I can say is, checking out this book will be a real feather in your cap!"

Vancouver Columbian

"This beautifully illustrated dictionary of 3,000 bird names trots out enlightening trivia."

The Week

About the authors

Roger Lederer

Dr. Roger J. Lederer is an emeritus professor of biological sciences who taught courses in ornithology and ecology for four decades. He has published more than twenty peer-reviewed scientific publications and written or coauthored six books on birds.

Read more about Roger Lederer

Carol Burr

Carol Burr has a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University. She taught literature at California State University, Chico, for 37 years before retiring in 2008. She has authored articles and edited books on women writers and sense of place. Most recently she illustrated a local bird guide, The Birds of Bidwell Park.

Read more about Carol Burr

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