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What is in a name?

Well, the beautiful orange-bellied leafbird (Chloropsis hardwickii) that we find here in Hong Kong has a scientific name that commemorates the English naturalist Thomas Hardwicke.

This soldier and naturalist was in India in the late 1700s and up to 1823, and was a voracious collector. The following are also named after him: Parnassius hardwickii – common blue Apollo Temera hardwickii – finless sleeper ray Solegnathus hardwickii – Hardwicke's pipefish, pallid seahorse Thalassoma hardwicke – sixbar wrasse, six-banded wrasse Eublepharis hardwickii – East Indian leopard gecko, Hardwicke's gecko Saara hardwickii – Hardwicke's spiny-tailed lizard, Indian spiny-tailed lizard Hydrophis hardwickii – spine-bellied sea snake, Hardwicke's sea snake Chloropsis hardwickii – orange-bellied leafbird Gallinago hardwickii – Latham's snipe, Japanese snipe Kerivoula hardwickii – Hardwicke's woolly bat Rhinopoma hardwickii – lesser mouse-tailed bat, and the genus of a tree known for its hard wood, Hardwickia binata, was named after him by William Roxburgh.

These lovely leafbirds are brightly plumaged, with the predominant green over the body giving rise to their common name, and as they are such attractive birds and, combined with an attractive song and capacity to mimic sounds, they have become very popular cagebirds.

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