Linnaeus first included birds in the 6th edition of his Systema Naturae which was published in 1748. In it he listed 260 species arranged into 51 genera and six orders. The entries for each species were very brief; he did not include a description but instead provided a citation to an earlier publication, often to his own Fauna suecica which was published in 1746. Linnaeus generally followed the classification scheme introduced by the English parson and naturalist John Ray which grouped species based on the characteristics of their bill and feet.
The 10th edition appeared in 1758 and was the first in which Linnaeus consistently used his binomial system of nomenclature. He increased the number of birds to 554 species which filled 116 pages compared with only 17 in the 6th edition.[Note 1] For each species he included both a brief description and also citations to earlier publications. He maintained 6 orders as in the 6th edition but renamed Scolopaces to Grallae. He rearranged some of the genera, dropping several and adding others to bring the total to 63.[Note 2][Note 3]
The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature chose 1 January 1758 as the "starting point" for zoological nomenclature, and asserted that the 10th edition of Systema Naturae was to be treated as if published on that date. In 2016 the list of birds of the world maintained by Frank Gill and David Donsker on behalf of the International Ornithologists' Union included 448 species for which Linnaeus's description in the 10th edition is cited as the authority. Of the species 101 have been retained in their original genus and 347 have been moved to a different genus. In addition, there are five species on Linnaeus's 1758 list that are now considered as subspecies. Of Linnaeus's 63 genera, only Tantalus and Colymbus are not now used.
In the 12th edition of his Systema Naturae published in 1766, Linnaeus described many additional birds that had not been included in the 10th edition. The 12th edition included 931 bird species divided into 6 orders and 78 genera. The 12th edition is cited as the authority for 257 modern species of which only 25 have been retained in their original genus. There are now believed to be around 10,000 extant species.
A beautiful and cheerful portion of created nature consisting of animals having a body covered with feathers and down; protracted and naked jaws (the beak), two wings formed for flight, and two feet. They are aereal, vocal, swift and light, and destitute of external ears, lips, teeth, scrotum, womb, bladder, epiglottis, corpus callosum and its arch, and diaphragm.
^The number of 554 is from the numbered species contained in Linnaeus's book and are the species listed below. Ernst Mayr claimed that Linnaeus listed 564 species while Joel Allen claimed that Linnaeus listed 545 species.
^W. L. McAtee mistakenly claims that Linnaeus in his 10th edition lists 102 genera of birds. In fact Linnaeus numbered his bird genera from 40 to 102.
^For the 10th edition of his Systema Naturae Linnaeus dropped six genera that he had introduced in the 6th edition. These were Ispida, Ortygometra, Numenius, Casuarius, Gallus and Ampelis. Linnaeus reintroduced the genus Ampelis in the 12th edition. The French scientist Mathurin Jacques Brisson based some of the genera in his Ornithologie on those introduced by Linnaeus in his 6th edition and adopted Ispida, Numenius, Casuarius and Gallus. As Ornithologie was published in 1760, after the I.C.Z.N. cutoff date of 1758, Brisson and not Linnaeus is considered as the authority for the last three of the above genera.
^The genus Colymbus was mis-spelt "Columbus" in the list of bird genera on p. 84, but appears as Colymbus elsewhere.
^The genus Colymbus was suppressed by the I.C.Z.N. in 1956.
^ abLinnaeus mixed the two species Turdus iliacus and Turdus musicus in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae. Under Turdus iliacus, he gave a description of the song thrush, but cited references referring to the redwing; under Turdus musicus, he gave a description of the redwing, but cited referenced referring to the song thrush. The confusion was partly clarified in the 1766 12th edition. The name Turdus musicus was suppressed after a 1957 appeal to the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature by Ernst Mayr and Charles Vaurie.
^For the second occurrence of Frigilla zena Linnaeus cites Plate 37 in Volume 1 of Mark Catesby's The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1729-1732). In the 12th edition of his Systema Naturae Linnaeus cites the same plate for the Fringilla bicolor, now Tiaris bicolor, the black-faced grassquit.
^ abLinnaeus, Carl (1748). "Aves". Systema Naturae sistens regna tria naturae, in classes et ordines, genera et species redacta tabulisque æneis illustrata (in Latin) (6th ed.). Stockholmiae (Stockholm): Godofr, Kiesewetteri. pp. 16–32.
André Marie Constant Duméril Zoologie analytique ou, Méthode naturelle de classification des animaux rendue plus facile a l'aide de tableaux synoptique Paris, Allais. Also published in German as Analytische Zoologie Weimar, Im Verlage des Landes-Industrie-Compto. In this work which covers the Animalia as a whole dichotomous keys are used to separate taxa in a scientific approach.
Anders Erikson Sparrman published an ornithology of Sweden titled Svensk Ornithologie.One of the many regional fauna s of Europe to appear in the nineteenth century.
Johann Heinrich Friedrich Link catalogued the natural history collection of the University of Rostock in Beschreibung der Naturalien-Sammlung der Universitat zu Rostock. In this work he proposed a new genus Alles to contain the little auk replacing the genus Alca of Carl Linnaeus and separating it from the other auks. For other changes of the 546 bird names used in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae see Aves in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae.
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