Image: Wikimedia Commons

Marked by its face and call, the turaco Crinifer personatus of East Africa is known as the bare-faced go-away bird.

This seems unfair. Hummingbirds get names such as royal sunangel, empress brilliant, blue-chinned sapphire, golden-crowned emerald, and shining sunbeam.

“One tends not to want to devote much energy to tracking down birds with names such as the unadorned flycatcher, drab water-tyrant, grayish mourner or one-colored becard,” writes birder William Young. “In Costa Rica, I saw a tiny (albeit friendly) drab bird with the oxymoronic name of paltry tyrannulet.”

(William Young, “Words of a Feather,” Word Ways 32:4 [November 1999], 297-299.)