Talk:Bohemian waxwing

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Vieillot 1808 puzzle[edit]

Why is the year 1808 used in this article (and in the literature) for the genus Bombycilla when the book by Vieillot appears to have been published in 1807?

The Check-list of birds of the world gives 1808 for the genus and 1807 for the publication date for the book. The book by Vieillot has 1807 on the title pages of both volumes. All entries on Worldcat use 1807 (as does the British Library). Aa77zz (talk) 11:23, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Zoonomen lists it as Bombycilla (f.) Vieillot 1808 Hist.Nat.Ois.Am.Sept. 1["1807"] p.88 and gives the publication details as 1807-09, Paris. 2 vols. I don't know if that actually helps, but at least it shows it's standard to give the genus a later date than the book
I've done some more research (ie googling) on the 1808 date. An article on pages 95-96 of the Mercure de France, Volume 32 1808, available here, explains that the Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de l’Amérique Septentrionale was published in monthly instalments starting on 1st Sept 1807. Each instalment included 6 plates and the associated text. There are 124 plates in the two volumes which suggests that it took just under 2 years to publish (ie 1807-1809).
The 1808 date was used in an article by the American ornithologist Joel Asaph Allen in the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History Vol. 24 published in 1908. On page 12, available here, Allen writes "Veillot in 1808 (Ois. Am. Sept., I "1807," 88, pl. lvii)..." with the 1807 date in quotes. He advocates the use of Bombycilla and claims that George Robert Gray "had no right to cancel Bombycilla and virtually take its type as a type of Ampelis." Aa77zz (talk) 16:15, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
Nice work. If any one raises this at an eventual FAC, they can just be referred here. Or do you think it should go into the article as a footnote that the apparent anomaly is because it was published in parts? Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:23, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
A footnote may be overkill here but one would certainly be appropriate for the Waxwing/Bombycilla article. One workaround for this article is to not cite Vieillot directly but to instead cite a RS that credits Vieillot and gives the 1808 date. One possibility is to cite the Mayr and Greenway (Peters) Check-list of Birds of the World Vol 9 page 369 (1960) another is to cite Zoonomen with a link such as this. I notice that one of the Zoonomen references is the Check-list entry above. Aa77zz (talk) 22:18, 11 November 2013 (UTC)
I think I might add it here as a footnote anyway, since I may need one for the English name too Jimfbleak - talk to me? 07:13, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Derivation of Bombycilla[edit]

In the article Note a states that Vieillot derived the word Bombycilla. This is not correct as the word had earlier been used by Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 for the waxwing in his Ornithology Volume 2 1760 pages 333-334 here. Brisson cites "Schenck. Avi. Sil. pag. 229" I struggled with this - I hate these abbreviations - but eventually discovered it referred to the 4th section of a book by the German theologian Caspar Schwenckfeld. The book was published in 1603 with the title "Theriotropheum Silesiae". A scan by google of page 229 is here. It is in Latin but clearly shows the words Bombycilla and Garrulus Bojemicus. There is also some Greek with yet more abbreviations.

Does Holloway (2003) p. 39 actually attribute the derivation to Vieillot? Aa77zz (talk) 14:06, 11 November 2013 (UTC)

Well, he does, but I had some doubts when I read it since it almost contradicts Jobling's derivation that cilla does mean "tail" Jobling is very reliable, so I've chopped the note, which added little to the text. Let me know if you spot anything else, or if you think there is anything missing. There's no rush, this isn't close tor ready yet, and my current FAC will take some time to get through Jimfbleak - talk to me? 14:39, 11 November 2013 (UTC)


A search of google books suggests that the term "Bohemian Waxwing" was used as early as 1817 and not in 1841 as stated in the article. The phase occurs several times before 1841. It seems that the adjective "Bohemian" was used from when the term "waxwing" was first introduced probably because the species had earlier been called the "Bohemian Chatterer". A link to the 1817 book is here. The title page with the year is here. I suggest you simply delete "and Bohemian Waxwing was first recorded in 1841.[12]" from the note in the article.

The linked book gives a list of references for "Bohemian Chatterer". They are abbreviated and omit the year which makes them tedious to find. Note that the year given by google books is often incorrect and one has to check the title page of the book.

One has to admire the editors of the OED for finding early occurrences of words before the introduction of computers. Aa77zz (talk) 12:22, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

If I'd read past the first OED entry for "waxwing", 1817 J. F. Stephens Shaw's Gen. Zool. X. ii. 420, I might have got it right. The next quotation is 1817 J. F. Stephens Shaw's Gen. Zool. X. ii. 421 Bohemian Waxwing. ): Note now amended.
One has to admire the editors of the OED for finding early occurrences of words — They had a few years, I seem to remember reading of a 19th century inmate of Broadmoor spending his days researching for the OED Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:54, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
Access to OED online is free if you have a library card since most local councils subscribe Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:01, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

I couldn't resist the challenge. I suggest you ditch the OED and instead state that term "Bohemian Chatterer" was used by Eleazar Albin in 1738. Page 25 here. Full ref is:

I wouldn't claim that it is the earliest - not necessary. It appears that Albin's book is well known - now I understand what the abbreviation Alb. means. Aa77zz (talk) 16:13, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

The Biodiversity library has a scan of an earlier edition dated 1734 - with fewer plates and without a second author. The text appears identical:

Page 25 is here. Aa77zz (talk) 17:29, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks again, I realise now that you can't take the OED as gospel Jimfbleak - talk to me? 19:56, 12 November 2013 (UTC)


The article mentions the 1555 book by Gessner and cites Jobling. The Gessner book has a woodblock print of the Behemian Waxwing on page 27. It obviously isn't required, but it might be fun to cite Gessner as well as Jobling. Gessner's book (Volume 3 of his Historiae animalium) is an important publication in the history of ornithology for which high quality scans are available on the web. The reference is:

Page 27 with the woodcut print is here. The same site (e-rara) also has a scan of the second edition published in 1560 in which the picture on page 27 is the same but the text is expanded: available here. Aa77zz (talk) 14:00, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Done, I used Gessner for Northern Bald Ibis, never thought to add it here. I thought the bit from Parkes was interesting, I'd wondered why the waxwing was garrulus when it's quieter than many other common birds (it doesn't look much like a Jay either, but Linnaeus put Northern Bald Ibis, Hoopoe and Red-billed Chough in the same genus because they all had curved bills. None are even in the same order now). Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:43, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Informal peer review[edit]

I'm at home and haven't checked the sources. My knowledge of English grammar is minimal.


  • "The three subspecies show only minor differences in appearance, and females are similar to males, but young birds are less well-marked and have few or no waxy wingtips." Split into two sentences - after appearances? I consider short sentences acceptable in the lead.
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • I wouldn't link "desert"
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)


  • link Waxwings (the article needs work)
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • "are each others closest relative." sounds slightly awkward -> "are more closely related."?
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • "The Bohemian Waxwing was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema naturae in 1758 as...". This form of words is used in many bird articles. I find it ambiguous as it can imply that Linnaeus was the first person to describe the species. I suggest you omit the "first".
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • " this is a direct translation of the Swedish name Sidensvans (German Seidenschwanz)," Why Swedish? Linnaeus was Swedish but he didn't invent the word. Jobling only mentions the German. Gessner gives the German word Seidenschwanz in the 1560 edition of his book available here. Caspar Schwenckfeld who was German used the word Bombycilla in 1603 here
Done. I can't access the Holloway book, which I've taken on trust. Foolishly, as it turns out, since almost everything sourced to it is slightly wrong Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • " The species name garrulus is the Latin for talkative and was first applied to this bird, as "Garrulus Bohemicus". Delete "first", Jobling doesn't claim that Gessner was first (and I would be doubtful even if he did).
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • "while "Bohemian" refers to the Romani, alluding either to the bird's wanderings,[8] or to its presumed origin from Bohemia, at the time a little known and distant place to most English speakers." This may all be true - but the bird is almost certainly called "Bohemian" because Gessner used Bohemicus. Ray used Bohemian and refers to Gessner (he doesn't like the bill in the Gessner's picture). We don't know why Gessner used Bohemicus but is certainly wasn't because it was a distant place for English speakers.
Rephrased without English Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • The article could include cites for the subspecies:
Poljakov, G I (1915). "A new waxwing - Bombycilla garrulus centralasiae subsp. nov". Messager Ornithogique Moscow (in Russian and English). 6 (2): 137. 
Reichenow, Anton (1908). "Neue Vogelartem: Bombycilla garrula pallidiceps". Ornithologische Monatsberichte (in German). 16: 191. 
Done, thanks Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • " The fossil record of this species includes..." -> " The fossil record includes...". I find the frequent use of "this species/this bird/this waxwing" slightly odd.
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)


  • "It weighs 34–85 g, average 55 g (1.2–3 oz, average 1.9 oz).[Snow&Perrins]" 34-85 g is a huge spread. My copy of S&P has "mostly 50-75g" The BTO page has " 57.93 ± 4.61 Range 42.00 - 78.20 g , (N =650)"
I've lost the ranges, there is some inconsistency, and, with the conversions, it's too cluttered anyway Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
But your cited source, Snow and Perrin, doesn't give an average weight (as far as I can see), only "Weight mostly 50-75g". Does the 55g come from Hoyo et al? Aa77zz (talk) 16:54, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, fixed Jimfbleak - talk to me? 17:09, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • "The Cedar Waxwing is smaller than Bohemian; it has ... a white lower belly and .... Adult Cedar Waxwings have a yellowish belly," belly+belly - white or yellow?
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • "In 1908, an American flock 60–90 m (200–300 ft) was noted as taking two to three minutes to fly over.[15]" this is isn't very clear - it could be the height. "In 1908, a large American flock, 60–90 m (200–300 ft) in size,...
Done, "wide" Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)


  • "several pairs may nest close together where there a number of good nest sites" a missing are
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • "lined with softer material such as fine grasses, moss, fur or lichen." grass?
Done, although arguable with plural Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • " 1.3–15 m (4 ft 3 in–49 ft 3 in)" I would round the imperial units to 1 sig fig (4ft-50ft)
Originally so, but there's a guy who sticks everything into the Convert template. I've tweaked to feet Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • "The young are initially fed mostly with insects, but thereafter mainly fruit." Thereafter is vague. How long are the nestlings fed insects? Is it just the male bird feeding insects? Also I would write "initially mostly fed insects".
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • "although in up to 35•6 birds per square kilometre" extra in.
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)


  • "but consume insects as well during the breeding season." "but also consume insects..."
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Predators and parasites

  • "Parasitic mites include Syringophiloidus bombycillae, first identified on this species,[37] and the nasal mite Ptilonyssus bombycillae.[38]" Missing verb. Sounds OK on rereading.
  • "but levels of Parasitic worm infestation are generally low." need lc parasitic
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)


  • "at more than 3 million individual birds," delete individual?
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Here is something to think about. I'll keep looking. Aa77zz (talk) 13:42, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

  • Feeding: "In the summer, Vaccinium and Rubus species and Canada buffaloberry are important items of diet, while cotoneaster, juniper, haws, rose hips and apples predominating outside the breeding season." their diet? and predominating -> predominate Aa77zz (talk) 15:06, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Done Jimfbleak - talk to me? 15:33, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks very much that's so helpful. This is my edit summary Jimfbleak - talk to me? 16:11, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Lead: "The chicks are altricial and naked, and they are fed by both parents," It sounds slightly better to me without the "they".
  • Lead: "The pair build a lined cup nest into which 3–7 eggs..." "lined cup nest" looks slightly odd - as does "lined-cup nest". How about "lined cup-shaped nest"? I also find the "and" in the sentence slightly awkward and would prefer "which are incubated ..." but this doesn't work as there is already a "which" just before.
  • I didn't much like that sentence anyway, rejigged for possibly more natural phrasing Jimfbleak - talk to me? 17:46, 18 November 2013 (UTC)
Much better. Aa77zz (talk) 17:53, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

I'm pleased that you found my suggestions useful. Aa77zz (talk) 17:28, 18 November 2013 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Black Turnstone which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RMCD bot 09:45, 4 May 2014 (UTC)