Letters M O P

Whose Bird - Number 18

...Moreau....Olrog....Pallas....Philby...

By Bruce Poulter

Reginald Moreau (1897-1970) was a British ornithologist, collector and author. He specialised in African fauna and its evolution, distribution and migration. He wrote numerous papers and his books included 'The Bird Fauna of Africa and its Islands' and 'An Atlas of Speciation in African Passerine Birds'. Moreau's Sunbird (Cinnyris moreaui), (Tanzania, 2006, 500 shillings) is endemic to the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania where its status is recorded as being 'common'.

Claes Christian Olrog (1912-1985) was a Swedish ornithologist whose formal career began in the Universities of Uppsala and Stockholm. In 1948 he accepted an academic position in the Universidad National de Tucuman where he began his long career studying the ornithology of the entire South American continent, being defined in the process as a 'pioneer of tropical ornithology'. His first field guide in 1959 was for many years the only paperback identification guide on the continent. Olrog's Gull (Larus atlanticus), (Uruguay, 1997, 5 pesos) is found on the Atlantic coast of northeast Argentina.

Emile Oustalet (1844-1905) was a French zoologist who studied at the Ecole des Hautes-Etudes. His first scientific work was on the respiratory organs of dragonfly larvae. He was employed at the Paris Natural History Museum where he became an assistant-naturalist and eventually Professor of Mammalogy. He worked for some time in the Far East writing 'Les Oiseaux de la Chine' in 1877 and 'Les Oiseaux de Cambodge' in 1899. Oustalet's Sunbird (Cinnyris oustaleti), (Zambia, 1994, 200 kwacha) is a localised endemic in the miombo woodland of south central Africa.

Peter Simon Pallas (1741-1811) was a German zoologist and one of the 18th Century's greatest naturalists. He earned his doctorate when he was only 19 years old! He explored widely in the lesser known areas of Russia, including southern Siberia and Lake Baikal, and the Altai Mountains of Mongolia. He described many new species of birds, fish, insects and mammals. A reef off New Guinea and a volcano in the Kurile Islands are also named after him. Several birds were named after Pallas. They include - Pallas's Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus), (Tanzania, 1998, 370 shillings) - found in Central Asia to India and Myanmar.

Pallas's Sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus), (North Korea, 1992, 50 cheun) - found in the sandy steppes of central Asia.

Pallas's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax perspicillatus), (Mozambique, 2012, 66 metical) - extinct in about 1852.

Professor Carlos Passerini (1793-1857) was an Italian entomologist and Curator of the Natural History Museum in Florence. His collection of Coleoptera is now in the Natural History Museum in Pisa. Passerini's Tanager (Ramphocelus passerini), (British Honduras, 1962, 5 cents) is found from southern Mexico to western Panama.

Titian Ramsay Peale (1799-1885) was an American naturalist and artist. His first expedition in 1818 was to Florida where he recorded the flora and fauna. He was noted for his sketches of North American Indians and buffalo made on an extensive expedition in 1820. He collected in the Pacific - in Fiji, Samoa and Tahiti - between 1838 and 1842. Many of birds he collected from around the world contributed to the Smithsonian Institute's original collections. The Fiji Parrotfinch (Erythura pealii), (Fiji, 1995, 1 cent) is endemic to the Fijian islands.

Hendrik Severinus Pel (1818-1876) was the Dutch Governor of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) for 10 years from 1840. He was an amateur naturalist and a trained taxidermist, acting as such for the Dutch State Museum of Natural History. Pel's Fishing-Owl (Scotopelia peli) is found locally in riverine forests of Africa south of the Sahara. It has featured on the stamps from more than 20 countries including those from Swaziland (1982, 35 cents) and Botswana (1997, 5 thebe).

Harry St. John Bridger Philby (1885-1960), a noted British explorer, was among the first Europeans to travel in the southern Arabian provinces. After resigning from the British Foreign Service, he became an advisor to the King of Saudi Arabia. He became a Muslim, renaming himself Hajj Abdullah. He wrote several books including 'Heart of Arabia'. His son was Kim Philby, who spied on Britain for the Soviet Union. Philby's Partridge (Alectoris philbyi), (Yemen,1996, 50 rials) is found in the rocky deserts of south-west Arabia and northern Yemen.

Dr. Charles F Pickering (1805-1878) was an American ornithologist and friend of Audubon. he took part in the US exploring Expedition as a naturalist in 1841. The Grey Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula pickeringii), (Philippines, 2007, 7 piso) is found on small islands off the southern Phillipines and north-east Borneo.

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