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  #1  
Old 09-12-2006, 10:04 PM
cruel butterfly cruel butterfly is offline
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Are there any common bird names that begin with the letter "X"?

Some friends gave my two-year-old son an alphabet set made out of that quarter-inch-thick dense foam. Each piece is about the size of a CD, cut in the shape of an animal, and features the corresponding letter of the alphabet as a pop-out in the middle. The alligator has a letter "A" that pops out. "B" for bear. And so on.

It all made perfect sense to me as I spread them out on the floor (to make sure I had them all, of course) until I came to the "X." The animal is a bird of some sort. I can't think of a bird name that begins with "X" and it's really bugging me.

Oh, I'm sure that somewhere out there, there's a species that begins with "X," but this alphabet is a child's toy. If it were the Fisher Price Taxonomy Alphabet, the bear would have a "U" on it instead of a "B."

So what the heck kind of bird were they trying to represent? Or were they just hoping that parents wouldn't pay attention?
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  #2  
Old 09-12-2006, 10:08 PM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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I don't know how common they are, but I came across this bird once in a scrabble game: xenops
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:15 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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There are in fact two kinds of birds whose common English name begins with X, the Xenops, with five species (Plain Xenops, Streaked Xenops, Slender-billed Xenops, Rufous-tailed Xenops, and Great Xenops), and the White-naped Xenopsaris. The common name is based on the scientific name (although the Great Xenops is actually in the genus Megaxenops ).
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:17 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Xenops are actually pretty common here in Panama; I see a few almost every time I go birding in forest. It's sort of like a creeper; its in a tropical family called the Furnariidae, or Ovenbirds.
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:19 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Yep, it's Xenops (sez the mommy.) If you do a Google image search on Xenops, the first image in the third row is a childish drawing of a bird which says "X is for Xenops." And it's also on this license plate frame from Cafe Press. I'm not sure when this started - sometime in the past 15 years, 'cause my son learned "X is for X-ray" or "X is for Xylephone" back in the early 90's, and my toddler daughter's books have xenopses.

(Help me out here, it IS pronounced "ZEE-nahps", isn't it? I'm never sure when I'm reading aloud to her.)
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:23 PM
cruel butterfly cruel butterfly is offline
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Not that this means much, but I've never heard of any of those birds.

I'm not an ornithologist, however, and I respectfully appreciate the feedback.

I'm so excited to add "xenops" to my toddler's vocabulary.
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:25 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Yes, ZEE-nops is how we pronounce it. That's undoubtedly the bird that is meant. There are over 20 Latin generic names that begin with X, but Xenops and Xenopsaris are the only English common names that do, and Xenops are a lot more common and widespread than the Xenopsaris.
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:27 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruel butterfly
Not that this means much, but I've never heard of any of those birds.
It's not surprising, since they are only found in the tropics. But they do solve the requirement for an animal whose name begins with X.
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:34 PM
cruel butterfly cruel butterfly is offline
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Not that I didn't take Cunctator's word for it, but as I hit "submit" to start this thread, I swear I was thinking, "I wonder how long it'll take for Colibri to pop in on this one?"

Apparently, not long.
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  #10  
Old 09-13-2006, 09:11 AM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colibri
the Xenops
Apropos of not very much, is it true that hobbyist birders sometimes refer to a critter like as an El Beebee? As in LBB, for little brown bird, when one doesn't get a good enough look at it to know what it is.
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  #11  
Old 09-13-2006, 09:18 AM
Bobotheoptimist Bobotheoptimist is offline
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Xenops are fond of the first name Xavier, btw. The also like to x-plore (cite )
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Old 09-13-2006, 09:23 AM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervaise
Apropos of not very much, is it true that hobbyist birders sometimes refer to a critter like as an El Beebee? As in LBB, for little brown bird, when one doesn't get a good enough look at it to know what it is.
Yes, that's pretty common. Also LBJ, for Little Brown Job, and sometimes LGB for Little Gray Bird. There are other shorthands for very common species, such as TV for Turkey Vulture, or, around here, TK for Tropical Kingbird.
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Old 09-13-2006, 10:35 AM
ChipsNDip ChipsNDip is offline
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We have an "animal alphabet" puzzle, and had to learn quite a few new bird names to finish it with our toddler. We thought Q would be quail, but it turned out to be Quetzal. And U was Umbrella Bird. I blame the "save the rainforest" folks for trying to raise awareness of tropical bird species...
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Old 09-13-2006, 02:41 PM
xanthous xanthous is offline
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I don't think anyone mentioned it here, but there is also a Xantus's Murrelet, however it's not too common, as it's pelagic and only comes inland to the southern Cal region to breed.
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  #15  
Old 09-13-2006, 06:01 PM
Monty Monty is offline
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I've thought for years now that Xavier was a pretty common middle name. Most of the guys I know who are Catholic and have the first name Francis have the middle name of Xavier. Every one of them I know goes by Frank. Can't say as I blame them.
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  #16  
Old 09-14-2006, 12:32 AM
Opus1 Opus1 is offline
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Another X bird is the Xeme, Latin name Xema Sabinii, also called Sabine's gull. Link: http://www.neseabirds.com/sabinegull.htm
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  #17  
Old 09-14-2006, 12:49 AM
Monty Monty is offline
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Oops. Thought it said "common first names." I'm going to have to clean these glasses more often!
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  #18  
Old 09-14-2006, 11:32 AM
running coach running coach is offline
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X-parrot.
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  #19  
Old 09-14-2006, 11:35 AM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monty
Oops. Thought it said "common first names." I'm going to have to clean these glasses more often!
But how many birds do you know named Xavier?
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  #20  
Old 09-14-2006, 12:19 PM
CC CC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner pat
X-parrot.
Don't you mean X- patriot? They fly the coop.
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