13 April 2009

The remarkable "Rainbow Finch"


An endangered bird, of which only about 2,000 are known to exist in the wild (in Australia).
It was discovered by the Ornithologist John Gould who named the finch after his wife rather than himself. First called the Lady Gouldian Finch, the lady part of the name has been largely dropped, possibly because it was something of a mouthful, but most likely because Mrs Gould was no Lady (this is a reflection on her lack of title rather than her personal behavior).

Gould himself is largely forgotten outside of ornithology circles and Australia, where he discovered the Finch in 1840. This is a shame as without him we would not have had the concept of ‘Darwin’s Finches’ from the Galapagos. Darwin himself thought that the specimens he collected were variants of other species (albeit including the finch). It was Gould who classified the twelve distinct new species that formed a new finch group.

Image credit. Via.

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