Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [134] - Discovery [17]: Golden-backed Bishop

2015-01-07 (613)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Golden-backed Bishop Euplectes aureus

Golden-backed Bishop
Golden-backed Bishop,
figure from Brown 1776
Golden-backed Bishop
Golden-backed Bishop,
figure from Shelley 1886
Golden-backed Bishop map
Golden-backed Bishop
distribution, type locality circled


The Golden-backed Bishop was formally named by Johann Friedrich Gmelin, a German naturalist. Gmelin described many new bird species in a book in 1789 in the style of Linnaeus' publications, giving a brief description in Latin and a synonomy, including a reference to Peter Brown, an English naturalist and illustrator. Gmelin noted the locality for the Golden-backed Bishop as Benguelo.

Peter Brown was the first to write about, and illustrate, the Golden-backed Bishop. He called it the Golden backed Finch and gave a description of the bird. Brown notes that his specimen was in the collection of Marmaduke Tunstall, an English ornithologist and collector. The bishop would have been brought by ship from coastal Angola to England, where it would have been purchased by Tunstall.

Scientific citation

Loxia aurea Gmelin 1789 Syst. Nat., 1(2), p.846 Benguela (ex Brown, 1776, Nouv. Illustr. Zool., pl. 25), s Angola.

Meaning of names

aureus (Latin): aureus, golden.

Alternate names

Golden-backed Bishop-bird, Golden-backed Finch.



Date collected

Before 1776, when a description was first published.

Locality collected

Benguelo = Benguela, Angola.

Type specimens

Type specimen not located; the illustration of Brown 1776 serves as a type.