Passenger Pigeon - Taxonomy and Systematics - Etymology

Etymology

The generic epithet translates as 'wandering about', the specific indicates it is migratory; the Passenger Pigeon's movements were not only seasonal, as with other birds, but also they would mass in whatever location was most productive and suitable for breeding.

In the 18th century, the Passenger Pigeon in Europe was known to the French as tourtre; but, in New France, the North American bird was called tourte. In modern French, the bird is known as the pigeon migrateur.

In Algonquian languages, it was called amimi by the Lenape and omiimii by the Ojibwe. The term "passenger pigeon" in English derives from the French word passager, meaning "to pass by" in a fleeting manner. Jesuit missionary Jacques Gravier's pioneering Kaskaskia-French dictionary explicitly describes and names the passenger pigeon as mimi8a in the Kaskaskia Illinois language, said to be equivalent to tourtre in French.

Read more about this topic:  Passenger Pigeon, Taxonomy and Systematics

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