Letter S

Whose Bird - Number 22


By Bruce Poulter

General Sir Edward Sabine, KCB, FRS (1788- 1883) combined his successful military career with being an explorer, physicist, ornithologist and astronomer. He was the Treasurer of the Royal Society from 1850 until 1861 and its President between 1862 and 1871. Sabine's Gull (Xema sabini), (Micronesia, 2014, 4 cents) was discovered by his brother, Joseph, who named it after his famous sibling, on an expedition in search of the North West Passage in 1918. Sir Edward was the astronomer and geologist on this expedition.

Conte Adelardo Tommaso Paleotti Salvadori (1835-1923) was an eminent Italian author, educator, physician and ornithologist. He was the medical officer in Garibaldi's battalion during the latter's 'expedition' in Sicily. He was the Vice-Director of the Museum of Zoology in the University of Turin for over 40 years until his death in 1923. He was the author of books about the birds of Borneo and the Moluccas. Salvadori's Teal (Salvadorina waigiuensis), (Indonesia, 1998, 10,000 rupiah) was one of several birds named after him.

Osbert Salvin (1835-1898) was an English naturalist who became a Fellow of the Royal Society. He studied mathematics at Cambridge University. In 1861 he determined to visit the mountain forests of Central America to see and shoot quetzals. He was the first European to record observing a Resplendent Quetzal, which he promptly shot! Subsequently 1000s of quetzal plumes crossed the Atlantic to the delights of collectors and fashionable milliners' shops. He wrote several books including, in 1879, an incredible 40-volumes on the biology of Central America. His bird collection was presented to the British Natural History Museum. Salvin's Prion (Pachyptila salvini), (French Antarctic Territory, 1994, 2.80 francs) was one of several birds named after him.

Leyland Cutler Sanford (1868-1950) was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and graduated from Yale University. He pursued a successful career as a surgeon, but his main interest throughout his life was ornithology. He instigated a major collecting expedition to South America from 1912-1917, which produced a large number of specimens. Late in life he inspired the acquisition of the huge bird collection of 280,000 specimens in Lord Rothschild's private museum at Tring for the American Museum of Natural History. Sanford's Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus sanfordi), (Solomon Islands, 1996, $1.50) was named after him.

Paolo Savi (1798-1871) was an Italian geologist, naturalist, palaeontologist and zoologist who studied natural science and physics at Pisa University. He became Professor of Natural History there as well as becoming director of the museum. He also became an Italian senator. His greatest work was 'Ornitologia Italiana', which was published after his death. Several mammals were named after him as well as Savi's Warbler (Locustella luscinoides), (Belarus, 1998, 5,300 roubles).

Thomas Say (1787-1843) was a self-taught American naturalist and zoologist whose primary interest was in entomology. He described over 1,000 new species of beetles and over 400 new insects of other orders. In his explorations of the Rocky Mountains in 1820 he discovered several new birds including Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya), (Tuvalu, 1985, 1 cent) as well as the Long-billed Dowitcher and Blue Grouse. In a later expedition he first described Coyote, the Swift Fox and several more birds. He wrote books on American entomology and conchology.

Hermann Schalow (1852-1925) was a German banker in Berlin and also an amateur ornithologist. He was the Vice-President of the German Ornithological Society for 13 years before becoming its President from 1907-1921. He wrote many scientific papers on birds and described 270 species. The Berlin Museum of Natural History named the Schalow Library in his honour. Schalow's Turaco (Tauraco schalowi), (Zaire, 1990, 40 zaire) was named after him.

C. Scheepmaker was a Dutch civil servant and collector in New Guinea who was active in the mid-1850s. The Southern Crowned Pigeon (Goura scheepmaker), (Yugoslavia, 1996, 2.50 dinar) was first pronounced new to science by Otto Finsch, who received a live bird from the dealer Scheepmaker in Amsterdam Zoo and named the bird after him.

Hermann Schlegel (1804-1884) was a German zoologist whose interest in natural history was stimulated by his father's interest in butterflies. His discovery, by chance, of a buzzard's nest led him to the study of birds. He became an assistant in the Natural History Museum at Leiden working mainly on reptiles before extending his interest to other zoological groups. He became Director of that Museum in 1858 and had a particular interest in Southeast Asia, sending collectors to China and New Guinea He was the first person to use trinomials to describe separate races. The end of his career was saddened when the collections of the British Museum began to eclipse those at Leiden. Schlegel's Francolin (Peliperdrix schlegelli), (Central African Republic, 1981, 90 francs) was one of several birds named after him.

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