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BOOK: Layard's Birds of South Africa

2014-04-28 (510)

Layard EL. 1867. The Birds of South Africa: A Descriptive Catalogue of all the Known Species occurring South of the 28th Parallel of South Latitude. Juta and Longman Green, Cape Town and London. (Biodiversity Heritage Library).

The first systematic book of South African birds was written by Edgar Layard, the second curator of the South African Museum, as early as 1867. In this 382-page book, Layard listed 702 species with synonyms, references, descriptions, and measurements (in inches), followed by some notes. The notes included localites of specimens, and where known, notes on breeding or other interesting facts. The book did not contain illustrations of the species, not English names, and thus it did not appeal to the general public. Layard's book was revised between 1875 and 1884 by RB Sharpe.

Layard listed 19 weaver names, and these represent 19 weavers in current taxonomic terms, but in very different combinations of species and subspecies! This table shows the weaver species included in Layard, with the species number and scientific name given by Layard, and the current English name.


No. Layard's name Current species
354 Textor Erythrorhynchus Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver
355 Hyphantornis Capensis Cape Weaver
356 Hyphantornis Aurifrons Cape Weaver
357 Hyphantornis Nigrifrons Southern Masked Weaver
358 Hyphantornis Nigriceps Village Weaver
359 Hyphantornis Capitalis Southern Masked Weaver
360 Hyphantornis Spilonotus Village Weaver
361 Hyphantornis Subaureus African Golden Weaver
362 Hyphantornis Tahatali Southern Masked Weaver
363 Hyphantornis Ocularis Spectacled Weaver
364 Hyphantornis Mariquensis Southern Masked Weaver
365 Hyphantornis Auricapillus Southern Masked Weaver
366 Sycobius Bicolor Dark-backed Weaver
367 Ploceus Taha Yellow-crowned Bishop
368 Ploceus Capensis Yellow Bishop
369 Ploceus Oryx Southern Red Bishop
370 Ploceus Lathamii Red-billed Quelea
371 Philetaerus Socius Sociable Weaver
372 Plocepasser Mahali White-browed Sparrow-weaver
373 Plocepasser Pileatus White-browed Sparrow-weaver
376 Vidua Axillaris Fan-tailed Widowbird
377 Vidua Albonotata White-winged Widowbird
378 Vidua Ardens Red-collared Widowbird
379 Chera Progne Long-tailed Widowbird
380 Pyrenestes Frontalis Thick-billed Weaver
393 Estrelda Squamifrons Scaly-feathered Finch

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