Great Kiskadee


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The great kiskadee was described and illustrated in 1648 by the German naturalist Georg Marcgrave in the Historia Naturalis Brasiliae. He used the name Pitangua-guacu, the word for a large flycatcher in the Tupi language. In 1760 the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson included a description of the species in his Ornithologie based on a specimen collected in Cayenne, French Guiana. He used the French name La Pie-Griesche jaune de Cayenne and the Latin name Lanius Cayanensis Luteus. Although Brisson coined Latin names, these do not conform to the binomial system and are not recognised by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. When the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus updated his Systema Naturae for the twelfth edition in 1766 he added 240 species that had been previously described by Brisson in his Ornithologie. One of these was the great kiskadee. Linnaeus included a terse description, coined the binomial name Lanius sulphuratus and cited Brisson's work. The specific name sulphuratus is Latin for "sulphur". The word had been used by Brisson in describing the yellow colour of the underparts of the bird.