Another wonderful Creek walk on Sunday packed with interesting information. In passing Nick used the botanically erudite word “Passerine” – eh, wot? You might well ask. I had to. It means perching, referring to birds, and comes from the Latin word for sparrow, passer. So now you know and we can all look quietly smug whenever we hear it in the future.
A passerine is a bird of the order Passeriformes, which includes more than half of all bird species. Sometimes known as perching birds or, less accurately, as songbirds, the passerines form one of the most diverse terrestrial vertebrate orders: with over 5,000 identified species, it is roughly twice as species rich as the largest of the mammal orders, the Rodentia.
The names “passerines” and “Passeriformes” are derived from Passer domesticus, the scientific name of the type species – the House Sparrow – and ultimately from the Latin term passer for Passer sparrows and similar small birds.