Letters S and T - Sukatschev, Swinhoe, Thekla

Whose Bird - Number 25


By Bruce Poulter

Little is known about V.P.Sukatschev except that he was a Russian explorer and trader who 'collected' in China for several years after 1884. Sukatschev's Laughingthrush, (Garrulax sukatschewi), (China, 2008, 1.20 yuan), was named after him. This rather splendid bird is found only in the montane forests of south west China.

William Swainson (1789-1855) was a naturalist and bird illustrator. He drew up the 'Instructions for Collecting and Preserving Subjects of Natural History' , which was printed in Liverpool in 1808. He served in Malta and Sicily for eight years with the army commissariat when he amassed a very large collection of zoological specimens. For two years from 1816 he travelled and collected specimens in Brazil. After learning the new technique of lithography he produced several books including 'Exotic Conchology'. In 1840 he left for New Zealand and became the country's first Attorney General. He remained in New Zealand for the rest of his life. Swainson was a Fellow of the Linnean Society and of the Royal Society. Several authorities, including Audubon, Bonaparte and Nuttal, named birds after him. Swainson's Hawk, (Buteo swainsonii), (Guinea-Bissau, 2015, 850 peso) seems, however, to be the only one of the many birds after him that has appeared on a stamp.

Professor Dr Theodorus van Swinderen (1784-1851) was a Dutch naturalist, a Doctor of Linguistics and of the Law, and a school inspector for 40 years. The Black-collared Lovebird, (Agapornis swinderniana), (Uganda, 1965, 10/-), a bird patchily distributed in lowland forest from Liberia to western Uganda, was named after him.

Robert Swinhoe (1836-1877) was born in Calcutta, but was sent to England to be educated. On leaving London University he was recruited by the Foreign Office into the China Consular Corps. His time in China gave him a terrific opportunity as a naturalist. and he explored areas not previously open to collectors. As a result he was able to collect new species almost every month for the 19 years he was there. The majority of his discoveries were birds. On his first return to London he brought part of his vast collection to meetings of the Zoological Society. He was, however, rather taken aback by having to allow someone else to name the 200 plus new species which he had discovered! Nonetheless, three species named after him appear on stamps, namely

Swinhoe's Snipe, (Gallinago megala), (Maldive Islands, 1 rufiyaa, 2002),
Swinhoe's Pheasant, (Lophura swinhoii), (Taiwan, 25 $ Taiwan, 2014),
and Swinhoe's Rail, (Coturnicops exquisitus), (North Korea, 12 won, 2009)

Charles Francis Massy Swynnerton (1877-1938), principally an entomologist, was born in India and worked in Africa. He became the first game warden in Tanganyika for 10 years from 1919. He then spent 10 years as head of tsetse research in East Africa. He published papers on many aspects of natural history. He was killed in an air crash. (Swynnerton's Robin, (Swynnertonia swynnertoni), (Zimbabwe, 9.90 $ Zimbabwe, 1998).

Coenraad Jacob Temminck (1778-1858) was a Dutch ornithologist, collector and illustrator. He was the first Director of the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Histoire in Leiden in 1820, a post he held until he died. He was a wealthy man who had a large collection of live birds. His first task as an ornithologist was to catalogue his father's very extensive collection and he may well have named some birds after his father. Among the many birds named after him are -

Temminck's Tragopan, (Tragopan temminckii), (Angola,5,500 kwanza, 1996)
Temminck's Lark, (Eremophila bilopha), (Algeria, 2 dinar, 1977)
Temminck's Courser, (Cursorius temminckii), (The Gambia, 40 dalasi, 1997)
and Temminck's Sunbird, (Aethopyga temminckii), (Malaysia, 1$ Malaysian, 1997)

Thekla Brehm was the daughter of the German ornithologist Christian Ludwig Brehm. He wrote the description of Thekla Lark, (Galerida theklae), (Portugal, €0.58, 2004) in 1858, the year in which his daughter died of heart disease.

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