Eastern Sumbanese Bird Classification and Nomenclature: Additions and Revisions

  • Gregory Forth Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta
Keywords: Bird classification, Folk taxonomic analysis, Bird names, Sumba Island, Eastern Indonesia


Expanding on previously published research into folk classification of birds in the eastern part of the Indonesian island of Sumba, this article reports new information on bird categories and classification recorded by the author in 2015. New folk taxa are described and identified and scientific identifications for previously reported taxa are added or revised. Information on local bird classification from the Kambera region is compared with data recorded in the 1970s in the district of Rindi, and these are shown to reveal only minor differences. Employing Berlin’s well-known analytical scheme, the main features of the taxonomy are summarized and totals are enumerated for monotypic and polytypic folk-generics and both named and unnamed (covert) folk-intermediates. Additional information is provided concerning symbolic uses of bird categories, including bird names used as place names and local beliefs about nightjars (Camprimulgus spp.) which correspond to ideas encountered on the ethnozoologically better-known neighboring island of Flores.

Author Biography

Gregory Forth, Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta
Gregory Forth is an anthropologist with interests in ethnozoology, religion, symbolism, and cognition. He is the author of nine books, including two on eastern Indonesian folk zoology and another on mystery hominoids.


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How to Cite
Forth, G. (2016). Eastern Sumbanese Bird Classification and Nomenclature: Additions and Revisions. Ethnobiology Letters, 7(1), 45–52. https://doi.org/10.14237/ebl.7.1.2016.572
Data, Methods & Taxonomies