Moorea Sandpiper / Prosobonia ellisi

Moorea Sandpiper / Prosobonia ellisi

Moorea Sandpiper

SCI Name:  Prosobonia ellisi
Protonym:  Prosobonia ellisi Bull.Br.Orn.Club 16 p.86
Taxonomy:  Charadriiformes / Scolopacidae /
Taxonomy Code:  moosan1
Type Locality:  Eimeo Island.
Publish Year:  1906
IUCN Status:  


(Scolopacidae; Ϯ Tahiti Sandpiper P. leucoptera) Johnsgard 1981, is doubtless correct in suggesting that this name may be a misspelling from Gr. προσωπον prosōpon mask, with reference to the dark russet lores, cheeks and forecrown of the Tahiti Sandpiper. However, the name could be a deliberate curtailment of Prosobonasia, as if from Gr. προσο- proso- adjoining, and specific name Aphanapteryx bonasia, Red Rail (an extinct island rail which shared its demise, rufous plumage, and straight bill with the sandpiper ). Bonaparte’s diagnosis implies that this group of sandpipers had been considered close to the Rallidae, but is otherwise infuriatingly clueless. Alternatively, the Gr. προ pro indicates relationship, and the second part of the name (with that stretch of the imagination essential to students of Bonaparte’s work) could be a play on the genus Pisobia Billberg, 1827, sandpiper; "Dans les Échassiers, les Ocydromiens, démembrés des Ralliens, et les Prosoboniens, formés du seul genre Prosobonia, qui a pour type la singulière Tringa leucoptera de la Nouvelle Zélande." (Bonaparte 1850). Recent work suggests that this genus, unique in nectarivory amongst the Charadriiformes, is allied to the turnstones Arenaria.
Var. Prosoponia.
Synon. Aechmorhynchus.

William Wade Ellis (1751-1785) English surgeon-naturalist, artist on Cook’s third voyage (‡Prosobonia).