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Open Access Research

Ethnotaxonomy of birds by the inhabitants of Pedra Branca Village, Santa Teresinha municipality, Bahia state, Brazil

Ana Teresa Galvagne Loss1*, Eraldo Medeiros Costa Neto2, Caio Graco Machado2 and Fernando Moreira Flores1

Author Affiliations

1 Post-Graduation Program in Zoology, Department of Biological Sciences, Feira de Santana State University, Feira de Santana, Bahia 44036-900, Brazil

2 Department of Biological Sciences, Feira de Santana State University, Feira de Santana, Bahia, Brazil

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Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2014, 10:55  doi:10.1186/1746-4269-10-55

Published: 10 July 2014

Abstract

Background

Studies on popular names of birds help to understand the relationship between human beings and birds and it also contributes to the field of ornithology.

Methods

This study aims to register the ethnotaxonomy of birds in the village of Pedra Branca, Santa Teresinha municipality, Bahia State, Brazil, by cataloguing and identifying their popular names, besides understanding the ethnoclassification system of local bird species. The ethno-ornithological data were obtained by means of semi-structured open interviews, and projective tests.

Results

We interviewed 48 residents and, in order to identify species, we chose five informants with a more detailed knowledge on local avifauna. We registered 139 common names, distributed into 108 ethnospecies and 33 synonyms, referring to 117 species. Nomenclatural criteria more frequently used were vocalization and coloring patterns. Following Berlin’s principles of ethnobiological classification, three hierarchical levels were registered: life form, generic and specific, with three types of correspondence between Linnaean and folk classification systems. The bird life form (“pássaro” in Portuguese) was associated only to wild species.

Conclusions

The ethno-ornithological research in Pedra Branca Village has contributed with new information on popular nomenclature of birds and their etymology, showing that folk knowledge on birds is conveyed within the community.

Keywords:
Human beings; Bird; Ethno-ornithology; Local names; Hierarchical levels; Vocalization; Ethnoetymology