West Mexican Chachalaca / Ortalis poliocephala
West Mexican Chachalaca
Protonym: Penelope poliocephala Isis 23 col.1112
Taxonomy: Galliformes / Cracidae / Ortalis
Taxonomy Code: wemcha1
Type Locality: Mexico.
Publish Year: 1830
IUCN Status: Least Concern
(Cracidae; Ϯ Little Chachalaca O. motmot) Gr. ορταλις ortalis, ορταλιδος ortalidos chicken; "In the year 1786 Blasius Merrem published his 'Avium rariorum et minus cognitarum icones et descriptiones collectæ e germanicis latinaæ factæ;' and under his account of his Penelope jacupema, of which he quotes "Alector brasilianus, Klein, Hist. Av. pag. 112," as a synonym, he proposes in the following words a subdivision of this genus Alector: — "Quod genus, cum multas sane species comprehendat, in plures phalanges dividendum videtur, quarum primam cum Linnæo atque Brissonio Cracem, eam, ad quam nostra pertinet species, Penelopen, tertiam, ad quam Phasianus Motmot et similes ei referendæ sunt aves, Ortalida appello." (Fasc. ii. p. 40.) How any one can have read this passage and not seen that "Ortalida" was the accusative case governed by "ap, pello" is indeed a marvel; but the fact remains that, to this day, "Ortalida" is constantly used as the name of a genus ... It is true that the accurate Gloger, in his 'Gemeinnütz. Hand- u. Hilfsbuch der Naturgeschichte' (Breslau, 1842), p. 373, uses the name "Ortalis" as if no one could have ever thought of any other form for the nominative case. Whoever first adopted Merrem's name, evidently copied it hastily from the Latin; and his oversight seems never yet to have been seriously noticed. But there is no doubt that Merrem had in mind the classical Greek word ορταλις, which mainly corresponds to the Latin pullus and to our "chicken," a Bœotian word (probably akin to ορνις) which, say Liddell and Scott (1869), passed into general poetic use. Hence it is clear that, whenever the name is used, the genus should be called ORTALIS, as the only nominative form of the feminine noun." (Wharton 1879); "Ortalida (accusative case) = Ortalis (nominative) Merrem, Avium rar. Icon. et Descr., fasc. 2, 1786, p. 40. Type, by original designation Phasianus motmot Linné." (Peters 1934, II, 16).
Var. Ortalida, Oztalida, Ortaldia.
Synon. Peneloides, Penelops, Penelopsis.
poliocephala / poliocephalum
Gr. πολιος polios grey, grizzled, hoary, whitish, white; -κεφαλος -kephalos -headed < κεφαλη kephalē head.
UPPERCASE: current genus
Uppercase first letter: generic synonym
● and ● See: generic homonyms
lowercase: species and subspecies
●: early names, variants, mispellings
†: type species
Gr.: ancient Greek
<: derived from
syn: synonym of
/: separates historical and modern geographic names
ex: based on
TL: type locality
OD: original diagnosis (genus) or original description (species)