Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology
(Ploceidae; Ϯ Red-billed Quelea Q. quelea) Specific name Emberiza quelea Linnaeus, 1758. Reichenbach's 1850, plate LXXVI, labelled Passerinae: Fringillinae Ploceinae, includes a variety of weavers, finches and waxbills, and shows the distinctive head-pattern of the male Red-billed Quelea. "950. Quelea, Reichenb. 1850. (Ploceus, p. Gr.). LOXIA sanguinirostris, L. (Emberiza quelea, L. - Passer senegalensis erythrorhynchos, Briss. - Fringilla quelea, Licht. - Loxia lathami, Smith. jun. - Ploceus sanguinirostris et Amadina! lathami, Gr. nec Gould.) Pl. enl. 183. 2. et 223. I. - Edw. B. t. 271. 2. - Vieill. Ois. Chant. t. 22. mas. 23. faem. 24. var. ex Afr. or. occ. et mer." (Bonaparte 1850); "Quelea Reichenbach, 1850, Av. Syst. Nat., pl. 76, fig. 5. Type, by tautonymy, Emberiza quelea Linnaeus." (Moreau in Peters 1962, XV, 61). Drastic measures, including gassing, burning, and the use of explosives, have been used to curb the locust-like hordes of Red-billed Queleas which can have such a devastating effect upon agriculture in tropical Africa.
Synon. Hyphantica, Queleopsis.
Med. L. qualea quail. The relevance of this name to the Afrotropical queleas is unclear, but Jeffreys 1973, suggested a connection between the pestilential swarms of queleas that ravage the crops of modern Africa and the huge numbers of quail Coturnix that fell upon the camp of the Israelites, “as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth” (Numbers XI 31). Gotch 1987, believes it to be from an African native name, but perhaps has confused it with Dioch, a name formerly used as an English substantive, originally given to the Red-billed Quelea by the Yolof, a people of Senegambia (Quelea).