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When is a Lourie not a Lourie?

(A Bird by any Other Name Part 1)

I recently had the good fortune to play at a golf day at Kyalami Country Club. At the function afterwards, a magnificent Dikkop proceeded to stroll into the function room collecting morsels from under the tables and the guests feet! (Really!) Obviously many golfers had no clue as to the name of this audacious creature, and were rapidly informed that it was a “Dikkop”. Someone quickly corrected that notion and pronounced it a “Spotted Thick-knee”. Frankly, a rather stupid name for a very beautiful bird. At least the name has been around for a long time (as far as I can make out). But I still prefer the “Afrikaans” Dikkop.

Actually quite a large number of names have changed. One can (hopefully) comprehend the technical/scientific purpose in the name changes. In some cases they may even be improvements, or at the very least still “pretty” names. Take the Verreaux’s Eagle as an example. The “new” name is not bad considering it always used to be a “Black Eagle”. Reluctantly we change. (And yet your eminence it is black). Not to mention the gentleman in the bird hide who refused to allow people to call our feathered visitor a “Plover” – no it had to be a “Lapwing” (we know). Actually, one can enjoy these birds without even knowing their name at all; although it enhances the enjoyment if one knows the birds habits and nuances.

And then we get the Grey Lourie (an all-time favourite of mine). Now it is a grey go-away-bird. Whereas I love the concept of the Afrikaans name “Kwêvoël”, I cannot get used to this new English name. But very simply “a bird by any other name…”, will still do the same old Grey Lourie things. This is a very inquisitive bird, a very vocal bird, and somehow one senses a kind bird as it cocks it’s head to check you out. Furthermore, it can become very accustomed to humans. The attached picture is of one fellow that we rapidly encouraged to feed directly from our hands. I love the contented “clicking” noise. I do not know whether this is just a call for food, or something similar to a cat purring.

Whatever the case, a Grey Lourie is still a Grey Lourie no matter what you name him, and will do all the endearing things that Grey Louries have always done. Every self-respecting suburban dweller should attempt to encourage them into his/her garden. All you need is some water, some protective tree/shrub cover, a decent fruit feeder, and some good fruit! In particular papaya, apples and bananas are favoured.

A final note on that suburban tabby. Despite the purring, your cat can do havoc with louries. Why not invest in a little collar with a bell? Then for the first time we could agree on the name – go away bird!

PS: If you need a decent fruit feeder – get onto the Nature’s Heart website.



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