2021—What’s in a Name, Part 2

Pyrrhuloxia. It’s easier to say its Latin name: Cardinalis Sinuatus. The Pyrrhuloxia is the Desert Cardinal, closely related to the Northern Cardinal, cardinalis cardinalis. Pyrrhuloxia seems to be such an odd name for a bird, especially when its Latin name is so much simpler and easier to pronounce. The name Pyrrhuloxia comes from the Greek terms describing its coloration, pyrrhos (reddish or orange) and the shape of its bill loxos (oblique). So there you have it. I’m not sure how Pyrrhuloxia became the preferred common name over Desert Cardinal. But, now that I can pronounce it, peer-uh-LOX-ee-a, I’m good with it!

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