25 February 1835|
|Died||1 June 1898(aged 63)|
|Alma mater||Trinity Hall, Cambridge|
|Known for||Godman-Salvin Medal|
|Spouse(s)||Caroline Octavia Maitland|
Osbert Salvin FRS (25 February 1835 – 1 June 1898) was an English naturalist, ornithologist, and herpetologist best known for co-authoring Biologia Centrali-Americana (1879–1915) with Frederick DuCane Godman. This was a 52 volume encyclopedia on the natural history of Central America.
Osbert Salvin was born in Finchley, the second son of the architect Anthony Salvin, of Hawksfold, Sussex. He was educated at Westminster and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, taking his degree in 1857. Shortly afterwards he accompanied his second cousin by marriage, Henry Baker Tristram, in a natural history exploration of Tunisia and eastern Algeria. Their account of this trip was published in The Ibis in 1859 and 1860. In the autumn of 1857, he made the first of several visits to Guatemala, returning there with Frederick DuCane Godman in 1861. It was during this journey that the Biologia Centrali-Americana was planned.
In 1871 he became editor of The Ibis. He was appointed to the Strickland Curatorship in the University of Cambridge, and produced his Catalogue of the Strickland Collection. He was one of the original members of the British Ornithologists' Union. He produced the volumes on the Trochilidae and the Procellariidae in the Catalogue of Birds in the British Museum. One of his last works was the completion of Lord Lilford's Coloured Figures of British Birds (1897).
The Godman-Salvin Medal, a prestigious award of the British Ornithologists' Union, is named after him and Godman.
In the scientific field of herpetology, he described new species of Central American reptiles (Bothriechis aurifer, Typhlops tenuis), and other species of reptiles have been named in his honor (Anolis salvini, Crotalus scutulatus salvini, Sceloporus salvini, Staurotypus salvinii).
In 1863, he married Caroline Octavia Maitland in Loughton, Essex. They had three daughters, Sybil Maitland Salvin (born 1867), Heloise Salvin (born 1875) and Viola Salvin (born 1878). Heloise Salvin married biologist John Edmund Sharrock Moore.
- Fisher, Clemency Thorne (2004). "Salvin, Osbert (1835-1898), naturalist". Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
- Mullens and Swann - A Bibliography of British Ornithology
- Papavero, N. and Ibáñez-Bernal, S. 2003. Contributions to a history of Mexican dipterology.– Part 2. The Biologia Centrali-Americana. Acta Zoologica Mexicana (n.s.) 88: 143–232.
- Woodward, Bernard Barham (1901). "Salvin, Osbert". In Sidney Lee. Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- Newton, Alfred (1899). "Obituary notice of fellows deceased: Mr Osbert Salvin" (PDF). Proceedings of the Royal Society 64: xiii–xvii. doi:10.1098/rspl.1898.0066.