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Spoonbill parrot

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#1 EvaH



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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:13 AM


I am translating the book "Parrot and Olivier in America" by Peter Carey into the Czech language. The author uses many zoological terms, especially those related to birds. I have found many of them in various dictionaries, encyclopedias etc. But I have come across one which seems a bit strange to me. The main character's name or rather nickname is Parrot. He is looking at his friend's engravings (copperplates) depicting birds and is angry at him that he sells such works of art just for fifty cents a piece:

"On a low bench in a corner by the door there were more plates, higgledy-piggledy, not even protected by a sheet of paper. I took the uppermost one which happened to portray, by chance, a spoonbill parrot."

Further on the "spoonbill parrot" is described in the following way:

"He who is sometimes called the Parrot then left the meeting and returned with a coloured etching of a bird he was not prepared to name, allowing only that it had been seen in the lands of Texas, and although it was commonly agreed to be very like a spoonbill parrot, its colourings were another matter, being carmine at its head to sulphur blue at its tail, and as luminous as a phoenix or some beauty in a myth."

I have found that a "spoonbill" could be a kind of wading bird (or a fish), but I have found nowhere that it could also be a parrot. Is it a kind of author's mystification, the main character's mistake, or does any of you know a "spoonbill parrot"?

Thank you very much for any opinions, advice and help

#2 hobglobin


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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:34 AM

Though not an ornithologist, I'd think it's an invention by the author, as parrots are never wading birds that filter feed on water organisms (i.e. sieve the water with a spoon-like beak) but have strong, curved beaks to feed on fruits, nuts, seeds etc (at least normally).
Because of the carmine, first a Flamingo came to my mind, though it's more or less pink and has no blue tail. And at least the beak is a bit parrot-like. ;)

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...except casandra's that did belong to the funniest, most interesting and imaginative (or over-imaginative?) ones, I suppose.

#3 lab rat

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 12:55 AM

The scarlet macaw actually comes to mind, but those don't live in Texas naturally. The only Texas-dwelling parrot that I can find is the Monk parakeet, but that is green and invasive. The only native parrot species went extinct a century ago.
42..."An immutable fixed-precision number of unlimited magnitude." <a href="http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia....amming_language)</a>, accessed 25June2009.

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