Norfolk Starling / Aplonis fusca

Norfolk Starling / Aplonis fusca

Norfolk Starling

SCI Name:  Aplonis fusca
Protonym:  Aplonis fusca Proc.Zool.Soc.London Pt4 no.43 p.73
Taxonomy:  Passeriformes / Sturnidae /
Taxonomy Code:  norsta1
Type Locality:  Murrumbidgee River, Australia [error for Norfolk Island].
Publish Year:  1836
IUCN Status:  


(Sturnidae; Ϯ Norfolk Starling A. fusca) Gr. ἁπλοος haploos  simple, plain; ορνις ornis, ορνιθος ornithos  bird; “AT a meeting at the Society's Rooms, Leicester Square, Mr. Gould, after making some remarks on various birds which were on the table, entered into a description of a new genus of birds, for which he proposed the name of Aplornis, on account of its simple structure. This genus, Mr. Gould observed, partakes of the characters of the genera Lamprotornis, Lanius, and Turdus; we will, however, endeavour to give an idea of of its distinguishing characters by comparing it with with the genus Lamprotornis. When thus compared, Mr. G. remarked that the species of Aplornis are altogether of a more robust form: the beak, which is distinctly notched, the wings, the legs, and the tail, are shorter in proportion; the latter is slightly forked. It may also be distinguished by the want of the splendid colouring so remarkable in Lamprotornis, all the species of which, it will be remembered, are of a beautiful rich green colour, with a satin-like gloss. There were two species of this new genus on the table, both belonging to the society; one from New Holland, and the other from the Friendly Islands.” (Gould, 1836, The Analyst, XVII, p. 152); "Mr. Gould exhibited specimens of two new species of Birds from the Friendly Islands and New Holland, of which he proposed to form a genus. He stated them to approximate, in his opinion, in nearly an equal degree to the genera Lanius, Turdus, and Lamprotornis; but believed that they might with propriety be arranged among the Thrushes. Their characters were given as follows:  APLONIS.  ...   In both species the feathers of the head are lanceolate; and the general plumage above has a slight glossy hue, especially on the head and back of the neck" (Gould, 1836, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, IV, p. 73); "APLONIS  ...  According to Mathews (Ibis, 1942, p. 342) this name, spelled Aplornis, was first proposed in the "Analyst" for Oct. 1, 1836 [not seen], by an anonymous reviewer of Gould's forthcoming description. Even if this citation must stand, the spelling Aplonis may be retained on the ground that Aplornis was a slip of the pen for Aplonis. Gould used the latter spelling in all his publications. He treated the genus as feminine and I have followed this usage." (Amadon in Peters 1962, XV, 75); "APLONIS Gould, 1836 F — Aplonis fusca Gould, 1836; type by subsequent designation (G. R. Gray, 1840, A List of the Genera of Birds, p. 40)." (Dickinson & Christidis (eds.), H. & M. Complete Checklist, 4th ed., 2014, 2 (Passerines), p. 581). Bruce & McAllan 1990, state that Gould’s description of Aplornis in The Analyst was published about two weeks before his description of Aplonis in the Proceedings (see above). They recommend the use of Aplornis (“has been used at least three times in the last 50 years”), but, following Schodde et al. 2007, and by reason of recent majority usage (e.g., Mayr 1941, Baker 1951, Ripley 1961, Mayr & Greenway (ed.) 1962, Rand & Gilliard 1967, Ali & Ripley 1972, Schodde 1975, White & Bruce 1986, Sibley & Monroe 1990, Christidis & Boles 1994, Feare & Craig 1998, Mayr & Diamond, 2001, Dickinson (ed.) 2003, Higgins et al. (eds.) 2006b, Dickinson & Christidis (eds.) 2014, Winkler et al. 2015, Beehler & Pratt 2016, del Hoyo & Collar 2016, Thibault & Cibois 2017), in the interests of stability it is better to retain Aplonis (contra Christidis & Boles 2008). It is astonishing that such a simple name, of obvious etymons, should have caused this turmoil in the rarefied world of nomenclature.  Beehler & Pratt 2016 state that the generic spelling Aplonis is now conserved (ICZN Opinion 2285).
Var. Aplornis.
Synon. Calornis, Kittlitzia, Lamprocorax, Macruropsar, Metallopsar, Psaroides, Rhinopsar, Santaplonis, Sturnoides.

L. fuscus  dusky, black, brown. Despite its classical meaning this epithet is used in ornithology to indicate a very wide spectrum of colours from black, grey and brown to a range of dark tints including slate-blue and dusky-orange (see also fuscus).
ex “Héron brun de Cayenne” (= ☼) of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 858, and “Héron brun” of de Buffon 1770-1786 (syn. Agamia agami).
● ex “Gobe-mouche brun de la Martinique” of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 568, fig. 2 (Allenia).
● ex “Brown Sandpiper” of Pennant 1768, and Latham 1787 (syn. Calidris minuta).
● ex “Brown Tern” of Latham 1785 (syn. Chlidonias niger).
● ex “Promérops de la nouvelle Guinée” of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 638, “Promérops brun à ventre rayé” of de Buffon 1770-1783, “Promérops brun de la nouvelle Guinée” of Sonnerat 1776, and “New Guinea brown Promerops” of Latham 1782 (syn. Epimachus fastuosus).
● ex “White-breasted Barbet” of Latham 1782 (Malacoptila).
● "61. ANAS.  ...  fusca.  5. A. nigricans, macula pone oculos lineaque alarum albis.  Anas corpore obscuro, macula alba pone oculos, lineaque alba. Fn. svec. 106. It. gotl. 215. 271.  Anas fera fusca. Jonst. av. t. 44.  Anas niger. Will. orn. 278. t. 10. Raj. av. 141.  Habitat in oceano Europæo.  Mas ad basin rostri gibbositate notatus." (Linnaeus 1758) (Melanitta).
● ex “Martin-pêcheur de la Nouvelle Guinée” of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 663 (= ♀), and “Great Brown Kingsfisher” of Latham 1782 (syn. Melidora macrorrhina).
● ex “Tangara brun d’Amérique” of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 155, fig. 2 (syn. Paroaria gularis).
● ex “Coot-footed Tringa” of Edwards 1743-1751, “Phalaropus fuscus” of Brisson 1760, and “Brown Phalarope” of Pennant 1785, and Latham 1785 (syn. Phalaropus lobatus).
● ex “Brown Creeper from the South Seas” of Latham 1782 (syn. Phylidonyris undulata).
● ex “Golondrina parda” of de Azara 1802-1805, no. 301 (subsp. Progne tapera).
● ex "Figuier étranger" of d'Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 58, fig. 3 (Setophaga).
● ex “Bouveron” of de Buffon 1770-1783: “J’appelle ainsi cet oiseau ... parce qu’il me paroît faire la nuance entre les bouvreuils [bullfinches] d’Europe et les bec-ronds [seedeaters] d’Amérique” (syn. Sporophila lineola).
● ex “Barge brune” of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 875 (syn. Tringa erythropus).
● ex “Rasle brun des Philippines” of Brisson 1760 (Zapornia).
● ex “Tourterelle de la Caroline” of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 175 (syn. Zenaida macroura carolinensis).
● "96. LOXIA.  ...  fusca.  25. L. fusca, subtus albida, remigibus a tertia ad nonam basi omnino albis. Chin. Lagerstr. 19.  Habitat in Benghala." (Linnaeus 1758) (unident.).
● ex “Figuier brun-olive” of de Buffon 1770-1783, and “Olive-brown Warbler” of Latham 1783, and Pennant 1785 (unident.).
● ex “Gobe-mouche brun de Cayenne” of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 574, fig. 1 (unident.; has been linked with Cnemotriccus fuscatus and with Contopus cinereus).