Symbols, standard abbreviations, and short glossary

(including abbreviations and notations frequently used by earlier authors)

Ϯ Type species

    (1) Type species of header genus (symbol follows family name and precedes substantive and scientific names, e.g. Aceros (Bucerotidae; Ϯ Rufous-necked Hornbill A. nipalensis). Current subspecific taxa and synonyma are included here without further identification (see below under (2)).

    (2) Type species of synonymised header genus (symbol follows current genus and precedes substantive and current scientific name, e.g. Abalius (syn. Thamnophilus Ϯ Black-hooded Antshrike T. bridgesi) (i.e. Thamnophilus bridgesi is the type of Abalius not of Thamnophilus. However, the two genera shown can have the same type. The family name is omitted, but may be found under the current genus name in the Key. Current subspecific taxa and synonyma are included here without further comment (e.g. under Rectirostrum (syn. Macrosphenus Ϯ Yellow Longbill M. flavicans hypochondriacus), the original type species of Rectirostrum is hypochondriacus, currently treated as a subspecies of flavicans).

Extinct genus
! exclamation! Formerly used by purist authors as a mark of reproach and astonishment at a barbarous name (i.e. not classical) which they considered had to be replaced
? doubtful, unidentifiable, tentative
... text omitted from original quotation
[ ] square brackets enclose present author’s clarification or correction (NB. some authors use square brackets in their writings (e.g. Vieillot 1816; Heine & Reichenow 1890))
juvenile, immature, non-adult
= equals, modern equivalent, is
± plus or minus, more or less, or thereabouts
< derived from, from
& and
&c. etcetera, and the like (Latin et cetera)
adj. adjective, adjectival
Adm. Admiral
Afrotropical In zoogeography the faunal region comprising tropical Africa south of the Sahara Desert and associated islands including Bioko (formerly Fernando Póo), São Tomé and Príncipe, Zanzibar, Pemba, and Socotra, and the south-western Arabian Peninsula (L. Afer African; Gr. τροπικος tropikos tropical). The Madagascan region was formerly included in the Afrotropics.
allopatric A term applied to closely related taxa which are geographically separated. Allopatry is the noun form (Gr. αλλος allos different; πατρις patris country, fatherland).
AMNH American Museum of Natural History, New York
anon. anonymous author, undiscovered author
AOU American Ornithologists’ Union
apud in the works of, in the sense of (Latin apud among, with)
auct. of (other / subsequent) authors (Latin auctorum) (i.e. name not used in the designated or restricted sense of the original author)
Australasian In zoogeography the faunal region comprising Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia and the Hawaiian Islands (L. australis southern; Asia Asia). Modern work suggests that this region should be divided (see Australian, New Zealand, and Oceanian), and that the Hawaiian Islands be included in the Nearctic region.
Australian In zoogeography the faunal region comprising the continent of Australia, Tasmania, and associated islands.
b. born
BHL Biodiversity Heritage Library (on-line service)
binomen The scientific name of a species, combining firstly a generic name and secondly a specific name (Struthio camelus is the binomen of the African Ostrich). Binominal or binomial are the adjectival forms (L. binominis having two names).
bk. book
bl. remains, stays (i.e. valid) (German bleibt < bleiben to stay)
BM British Museum, London
BMNH British Museum (Natural History), London
BOC British Ornithologists’ Club
Bot. / bot. botanical, botany
BOU British Ornithologists’ Union
Br. Brother in Holy Orders
Brig. Brigadier
Bt. Baronet (often also abbreviated to Bart.)
Bull. Bulletin
c. about, approximately (Latin circa)
Capt. Captain
cf. compare, consult (Latin confer)
cl. class, section
clade A single branch on the tree of life, a monophyletic group comprising the ancestor and all its descendants (Gr. κλαδος klados branch).
Col. Colonel
coll. collector, collected by
comm. communicated in personal conversation (Latin communicavit he communicated)
comp. comparative degree or form of (e.g. greater) (cf. in comp.)
Comte Count (fem. Comtesse) (French)
Conde Count (fem. Condesa) (Spanish)
Conte Count (fem. Contessa) (Italian)
cotype term formerly used for either syntype or paratype
d. died
dim. diminutive degree or form (e.g. least)
do. ditto, the same, repeated, the said (Italian detto said < Latin dicere to say)
Dr Doctor
e.g. example (Latin exempli gratia)
ed. / éd. editor, editors, edition / éditeur, éditeurs, édition (French)
eponym Generic or specific or subspecific name commemorating a person or persons (Gr. επωνυμος epōnumos named after).
et al. and others (Latin et alii) (used of three or more authors)
etc. etcetera, and the like (Latin et cetera)
Ethiopian In zoogeography a former name for the Afrotropical region (L. Aethiopia Ethiopia, Africa).
etymon The original form of a word; a word from which a later word is derived (Gr. ετυμον etumon the true sense of a word).
ex based on, based mainly on, derived from, according to (Latin)
F. feminine gender
fasc. fascicle, part, number (Latin fasciculus little bundle, packet)
fide according to (Latin fides reliance)
fig. figure, illustration (Latin figura)
figs. figures, illustrations
fl. flourished, lived (Latin floruit)
Fr. Father in Holy Orders
Freiherr Baron (fem. Baronin) (German)
Gen. General
genotype term formerly used for type species
Gov. Governor
Gr. Greek (ancient and classical; approx. 1000 BC to 300 BC)
Graf Count (fem. Gräfin) (German)
Hab. Habitat (earlier equivalent of Type Locality) (Latin habitat it inhabits)
Herzog Duke (fem. Herzogin) (German)
holotype single specimen originally designated as name-bearing type
homonym Two or more generic or specific or subspecific names sharing the same spelling but having different usages or applications (Gr. ὁμωνυμος homōnumos having the same name).
homophone In ornithology an epithet having the same sound as another word or words, but usually with a different or fanciful spelling. This form of play on words was much favoured by the Comte de Buffon (e.g. Microcerculus bambla) and other French authors (Gr. ὁμως homōs same; φωνη phōnē sound).
I. Island
ib. / ibid. in the same place (Latin ibidem)
ic. image, figure, painting (Latin icon, iconis < Gr. εικων eik?n)
id. the same (Latin idem)
ICZN International Code of Zoological Nomenclature
i.e. that is (Latin id est)
incertae sedis Of uncertain taxonomic position (Latin incertae sedis of uncertain seat).
incl. includes, including, inclusive
Indian, Indomalayan or Indomalaysian In zoogeography alternative or former names for the Oriental region.
in comp. in composition (cf. comp.)
in litt. in correspondence (includes e-mails and on-line forums), by personal correspondence (Latin in litteris)
Is. Islands
Journ. Journal
Jr. Junior
L. Latin (classical; approx. 200 BC to AD 200)
Late L. Late Latin (approx. AD 200 to AD 600)
Late Med. L. Late Mediaeval Latin (approx. AD 1500 to AD 1600)
lectotype single syntype subsequently designated as the name-bearing type
Leg. / leg. collector, collected by (L. legulus collector, gatherer < legere to collect) (this abbreviation was formerly much used, but is now mainly seen in lists of type specimens)
livr. livraison, livre, part, number
Lt. Lieutenant
M. masculine gender
Madagascan In zoogeography the faunal region comprising Madagascar and associated islands, including the Comoros, Mascarenes and Seychelles. The Madagascan region was formerly included in the Afrotropics.
Maj. Major
MCZ Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
Med. L. Mediaeval Latin (approx. AD 600 to AD 1500)
Mid. French Middle French (approx. 1350 - 1610)
mihi to me, mine (Latin ego I) (in older texts describing new forms often abbreviated to “m.”)
Mod. L. Modern Latin (approx. AD 1600 to the present)
monophyletic In ornithology applied to a group of species, usually treated in the same genus, considered to have the same evolutionary ancestor (Gr. μονος monos single; φυλη phulē tribe).
monotypy In citations where no type species is originally designated, the subsequent identification of a type species by reason of its being the only species mentioned in the new genus (or considered so by the original author).
MS / ms manuscript (Latin manuscriptum)
MSS / mss manuscripts
Mt. Mount, Mountain
Mts. Mountains
Mus. Museum
myth. mythology, mythological, mythical
N. neuter gender
Nearctic In zoogeography the faunal region comprising North and Middle America north of the tropical rain-forests in Mexico, and including the Bahamas and the Greater and Lesser Antilles. Recent work suggests that the Hawaiian Islands be included in this region (Gr. νεος neos new; αρκτος arktos north).
nec and not (of), nor (of) (Latin)
Neotropical In zoogeography the faunal region comprising Middle and South America south from the tropical rain-forests in Mexico to Tierra del Fuego, and associated islands including Trinidad & Tobago, the Galápagos Is., Juan Fernández Is., and the Falkland Is. (Gr. νεος neos new; τροπικος tropikos tropical).
New Zealand In zoogeography the faunal region comprising New Zealand and its associated islands.
no. number, part (Latin numero)
nobis to us, ours (Latin ego I) (in older texts describing new forms often abbreviated to “n.” or to “nob.”)
No expl. No explanation or etymology given in the original citation/description
nomen conservandum In nomenclature a conserved name, officially sanctioned despite contravening one or more of the provisions of the Code (Latin nomen conservandum (plural: nomina conservanda)).
nomen dubium In nomenclature a dubious name, unidentifiable or of uncertain application (Latin nomen dubium (plural: nomina dubia)).
nomen nudum In nomenclature an invalid name, published without the necessary criteria required by the ICZN (Latin nomen nudum naked name (plural: nomina nuda)).
nomen oblitum In nomenclature a forgotten name, sunk in synonymy, unused over a lengthy period but which can be resurrected subject to ICZN criteria (Latin nomen oblitum (plural: nomina oblita)).
non not (of) (Latin)
non-binominal Also non-binomial. In nomenclature used of any name, work or system that does not comply with Linnaeus’s (1758) method of naming species with a binomen (i.e. a generic and a specific name). It applies not only to pre-Linnaean authors (e.g. Willughby (1676), Ray (1678, 1713), Albin (1731-1738)), but also to post-Linnaean authors such as de Buffon (1770-1783), Latham (1781-1802), and de Azara (1802-1805), who gave species substantive French, English and Spanish names respectively.
nos. numbers, parts
Oceanian In zoogeography the faunal region comprising New Guinea and associated islands, Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
OD original description or diagnosis
Old French Old French (approx. 850 - 1350)
olim formerly, at times (Latin)
Oriental In zoogeography the faunal region comprising continental Asia east of the Indus River and south of the Himalayas and Yangtse Kiang, with associated islands including the Maldives, Nicobar and Andaman Is., Singapore, Hainan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali (L. oriens, orientis east).
orn. ornithology, ornithological
p. page number (abbreviation often not given for serial works, e.g. 2: 12, or 2, 12 = vol. 2, p. 12) (Latin pagina)
pace with due respect to, despite another opinion (Latin pace tua by your leave)
Palaearctic or Palearctic In zoogeography the faunal region comprising Europe and North Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Siberia, and Asia west of the Indus River and north of the Himalayas and Yangtse Kiang (Gr. παλαιος palaios old; αρκτος arktos north).
paraphyletic In ornithology a monophyletic group from which one or more subsidiary clades is excluded to form a separate group (Gr. παρα para near; φυλη phulē tribe).
patronym In ornithology a substantive English name honoring a person, the vernacular equivalent of the eponym. However, the patronym is not governed by rules, only influenced by tradition and common usage, and need not mirror the binomen.
per through, by (L.)
Père Father in Holy Orders (French)
pl. plate number
pll. plate numbers
polyphyletic In ornithology applied to a group of species, usually treated in the same genus, considered to have two or more evolutionary ancestors (Gr. πολυς polus many; φυλη phulē tribe).
pp page numbers (abbreviation often not given for serial works, e.g. 2: 12-15, or 2, 12-15 = vol. 2, pp. 12-15)
pref. prefix
Principe Prince (fem. Principessa) (Italian)
Príncipe Prince (fem. Princeza) (Spanish / Portuguese)
Prinz Prince (fem. Prinzessin) (German)
Prof. Professor
pt. part, partly, for the most part
pull. pullus, chick, young (Latin pullus, from the root of puer child)
q.v. which see (Latin quod vide)
RAOU Royal Australasian Ornithologists’ Union / Birds Australia
recte rightly, properly, correctly (L. < regere to guide)
ref. reference, with reference to, refers to
rev. revised (edition)
Revd. Reverend
s. Former abbreviation for seu and sive.
sect. section, class
sens. lat. in the broad or widest sense (sometimes abbreviated to “s. l.”) (Latin sensu lato)
sens. str. in the strict or narrowest sense (sometimes abbreviated to “s. s.”) (Latin sensu stricto)
ser. / sér. series / séries (French)
seu or (Latin) (in older texts often abbreviated to "s.")
sic thus, so (Latin) (to call attention to an original spelling or error)
sive or (Latin) (in older texts often abbreviated to “s.”)
sk. skin
sp. species (singular)
spp. species (plural)
Sr. Senior
sub nom. under the (generic / specific) name of (Latin sub nomine)
subsp. subspecies (singular), subspecies of (singular), race, race of
subspp. subspecies (plural), subspecies of (plural), races, races of
suff. suffix
super. superlative degree or form (e.g. greatest)
Suppl. / suppl. supplement (Latin supplementum completion, reinforcements)
suppr. name/combination officially suppressed or rejected or invalidated
sympatric Applied to taxa occupying the same geographical range. The noun form is Sympatry (Gr. συμ- sum- together; πατρις patris country, fatherland).
syn. synonym of, synonymous with (Latin synonymum). In the text synonym is used in the very broadest sense, referring not only to true synonyms but also to variants, original spellings, corrected spellings, purist amendments, lapses, hybrids, misspellings, errors, unidentifiable names, suppressed and rejected names, nomina oblita and nomina nuda
Synon. Synonym / synonyma of currently recognised genus listed and explained elsewhere in the Key. Note that synonymous genera do not necessarily have the same type species as the current 'parent' genus. The names are listed alphabetically, not in order of priority, so may be used for cross-reference purposes and perhaps provide further etymons or insights.
synonym Two or more generic or specific or subspecific names with different spellings sharing the same usage or application. The earliest valid name, given precedence and either in current use or available if required, is known as the senior synonym; the later name or names are known as junior synonyms and sunk or subsumed in synonymy ((a) Tigrisoma Swainson, 1827 (senior synonym), Heterocnus Sharpe, 1895 (junior synonym), and Tigribaphe Reichenow, 1912 (junior synonym). (b) Tigrisoma lineatum (Boddaert, 1783) (senior synonym), Tigrisoma tigrinum (J. Gmelin, 1789) (junior synonym), Tigrisoma brasiliense Cabanis, 1849 (junior synonym), and Tigrisoma excellens Ridgway, 1888 (junior synonym)) (Gr. συνωνυμος sunōnumos having the same name as).
syntype each specimen of a type series; in the absence of a holotypic designation any specimen from the original type series may be subsequently selected as a lectotype (the specimens remaining are known as paratypes)
tab. plate (Latin tabula) (in older texts often abbreviated to “t.”)
tautonymy In nomenclature the application of the same name both to a genus and to a species within that genus (Ciconia ciconia, Phoenicurus phoenicurus). The form bearing the specific name (including synonyms and non-binominal names) is considered to be the type species of the genus by reason of tautonymy. Each name is a tautonym. Although frowned upon by classicists, tautonymy was frequent in early nomenclature (Gr. ταυτος tautos identical; ονυμα onuma name).
Th. Thence, from
TL Type locality (Habitat (abbreviation: Hab.) in earlier works). In nomenclature the geographical place where the named type specimen or specimens of the species were actually or believed to have been collected, captured or observed. In early ornithology, before their importance was appreciated, type localities or habitats were often vague, generalised or erroneous (many of Linnaeus’s (1758) habitats were given simply as “Europe” or “The Indies”); subsequent investigation and work has refined or corrected such generalisations (thus, Linnaeus’s (1758) European type locales have been restricted to his homeland of Sweden).
toponym Generic or specific or subspecific name based on a geographic place-name (Gr. τοπος topos place; ονυμα onuma name).
topotype term for a specimen collected from the original type locality
type designation In nomenclature the naming or selection of the type species of a genus. Original designation is that made by the author of the genus in the original published diagnosis, when he selects one of the species considered to be in the genus as the type species of that genus. Subsequent designation is that made and published later by the same or another author when no type species was originally chosen, and he selects a species from those included in the original diagnosis.
u.s.w. etcetera, etc. (German und so weiter)
unident. unidentifiable, unidentified, indeterminable.
v. 1. see (Latin vide)   2. or (Latin vel)
vel or, rather (Latin < velle to wish)
vix only just, scarcely (Latin vis quantity, influence, nature)
vol. volume, book, livre (in catalogues, bibliographies and reference lists the volume number is often emboldened without abbreviation, e.g. 4 or IV = vol. 4 or vol. IV)
x hybrid form, hybrid between, crossed with, hybridised with (of hybrid forms)
z.b. / z.B. for example, e.g. (German zum Beispiel)
Zool. / zool. zoological, zoology