Harry C. Oberholser

Harry Church Oberholser (June 25, 1870 – December 25, 1963) was an American ornithologist.

Harry Church Oberholser
BornJune 25, 1870
DiedDecember 25, 1963 (aged 93)
Alma materColumbia University
George Washington University
Scientific career
InstitutionsUnited States Fish and Wildlife Service
Cleveland Museum of Natural History


H.C. Oberholser in 1895

Harry Oberholser was born on June 25, 1870, in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Columbia University, and was awarded degrees from the George Washington University in 1914. He married Mary Forrest Smith on June 30, 1914. Oberholser received the Ph.D. in 1916. From 1895 to 1941, he was employed by the United States Bureau of Biological Survey (later the United States Fish and Wildlife Service) as an ornithologist, biologist, and editor. In 1941 he became curator of ornithology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Oberholser was the author of a number of books and articles. He died on December 25, 1963.[1]


Empidonax oberholseri (dusky flycatcher) was named in his honor. Some of Oberholser's papers are held by the Barker Texas History Center.[1]


  • The Bird Life of Texas (1974) ISBN 0-292-70711-8
  • Birds of Mt. Kilimanjaro (1905)
  • Birds of the Anamba Islands (1917)
  • The Bird Life of Louisiana (1938)
  • When Passenger Pigeons Flew in the Killbuck Valley (1999) ISBN 1-888683-96-1
  • Critical notes on the subspecies of the spotted owl (1915) doi:10.5479/si.00963801.49-2106.251
  • The birds of the Tambelan Islands, South China Sea (1919) doi:10.5479/si.00963801.55-2262.129
  • The great plains waterfowl breeding grounds and their protection (1918)


  1. ^ a b Biography

External links

Black-eared barbet

The black-eared barbet (Psilopogon duvaucelii) is a barbet in the family Megalaimidae native to Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. It inhabits shrubland and forest up to an altitude of 1,200 m (3,900 ft). Because of its large range it is listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List.

Canada jay

The Canada jay (Perisoreus canadensis), also gray jay, grey jay, camp robber, or whisky jack, is a passerine bird of the family Corvidae. It is found in boreal forests of North America north to the tree line, and in the Rocky Mountains subalpine zone south to New Mexico and Arizona. A fairly large songbird, the Canada jay has pale grey underparts, darker grey upperparts, and a grey-white head with a darker grey nape. It is one of three members of the genus Perisoreus, a genus more closely related to the magpie genus Cyanopica than to other birds known as jays. The Canada jay itself has nine recognized subspecies.

Canada jays live year-round on permanent territories in coniferous forests, surviving in winter months on food cached throughout their territory in warmer periods. The birds form monogamous mating pairs, with pairs accompanied on their territories by a third juvenile from the previous season. Canada jays adapt to human activity in their territories and are known to approach humans for food, inspiring a list of colloquial names including "lumberjack", "camp robber", and "venison-hawk". The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) considers the Canada jay a least-concern species, however, populations in southern ranges may be affected adversely by global warming.

The species is associated with mythological figures of several First Nations cultures, including Wisakedjak, a benevolent figure whose name was anglicized to Whiskyjack. In 2016, an online poll and expert panel conducted by Canadian Geographic magazine selected the Canada jay as the national bird of Canada, although the designation is not formally recognized.

Fanti drongo

The Fanti drongo (Dicrurus atactus) is a species of bird in the family Dicruridae.

It is found in sub-Sahara Africa from Sierra Leone to southwestern Nigeria.

The Fanti drongo was described by the American ornithologist Harry C. Oberholser in 1899 from a specimen collected in the Fanti district of Ghana. He considered it as a subspecies of the velvet-mantled drongo (Dicrurus modestus) and introduced the trinomial name Dicrurus modestus atactus. The specific epithet atactus is from the Ancient Greek ατακτος ataktos "disorderly" or "lawless". Based on the results of a molecular phylogenetic study published in 2018, it is now treated as a separate species.

Fiery minivet

The fiery minivet (Pericrocotus igneus) is a species of bird in the family Campephagidae. Its range includes Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Its natural habitats are broadleaf, secondary and coastal forests. It is threatened by forest clearance and has been assessed as near-threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Green iora

The green iora (Aegithina viridissima) is a species of bird in the family Aegithinidae. It is found in the Thai-Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo. Its habitats include lowland forests, secondary forest and mangrove forest. It is threatened by habitat loss, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed it as near-threatened.

Least bittern

The least bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) is a small heron, the smallest member of the family Ardeidae found in the Americas.

List of ornithologists

This is a list of ornithologists who have articles, in alphabetical order by surname. See also Category:Ornithologists.


Oberholser is a German surname. Notable persons with this name include:

Arron Oberholser (born 1975), American golfer and television commentator

Harry C. Oberholser (1870–1963), American ornithologist

Passenger pigeon

The passenger pigeon or wild pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) is an extinct species of pigeon that was endemic to North America. Its common name is derived from the French word passager, meaning "passing by", due to the migratory habits of the species. The scientific name also refers to its migratory characteristics. The morphologically similar mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) was long thought to be its closest relative, and the two were at times confused, but genetic analysis has shown that the genus Patagioenas is more closely related to it than the Zenaida doves.

The passenger pigeon was sexually dimorphic in size and coloration. The male was 390 to 410 mm (15.4 to 16.1 in) in length, mainly gray on the upperparts, lighter on the underparts, with iridescent bronze feathers on the neck, and black spots on the wings. The female was 380 to 400 mm (15.0 to 15.7 in), and was duller and browner than the male overall. The juvenile was similar to the female, but without iridescence. It mainly inhabited the deciduous forests of eastern North America and was also recorded elsewhere, but bred primarily around the Great Lakes. The pigeon migrated in enormous flocks, constantly searching for food, shelter, and breeding grounds, and was once the most abundant bird in North America, numbering around 3 billion, and possibly up to 5 billion, “at the time of the discovery of America,” according to A. W. Schorger.Though one genetic study concluded that the bird was not always that abundant, and that the population size fluctuated dramatically over time, a more recent study found evidence that this was not the correct interpretation of the genetic data, and instead concluded that the passenger pigeon population size had been stable for at least 20,000 years prior to "its 19th-century decline and eventual extinction." A very fast flyer, the passenger pigeon could reach a speed of 100 km/h (62 mph). The bird fed mainly on mast, and also fruits and invertebrates. It practiced communal roosting and communal breeding, and its extreme gregariousness may be linked with searching for food and predator satiation.

Passenger pigeons were hunted by Native Americans, but hunting intensified after the arrival of Europeans, particularly in the 19th century. Pigeon meat was commercialized as cheap food, resulting in hunting on a massive scale for many decades. There were several other factors contributing to the decline and subsequent extinction of the species, including shrinking of the large breeding populations necessary for preservation of the species and widespread deforestation, which destroyed its habitat. A slow decline between about 1800 and 1870 was followed by a rapid decline between 1870 and 1890. The last confirmed wild bird is thought to have been shot in 1901. The last captive birds were divided in three groups around the turn of the 20th century, some of which were photographed alive. Martha, thought to be the last passenger pigeon, died on September 1, 1914, at the Cincinnati Zoo. The eradication of this species is a notable example of anthropogenic extinction.

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