Wilhelm Meise

Wilhelm Meise (September 12, 1901 – August 24, 2002) was a German ornithologist.[1] He studied at the University of Berlin from 1924–1928, where he did his Ph.D. dissertation on the distribution of the carrion crow and the hooded crow, and hybridization between them under the supervision of Professor Erwin Stresemann, (1889–1972). .[1] He also analysed taxonomic and historic relationships between the house sparrow and the Spanish sparrow in particular the status of the "Italian sparrow". He was curator of vertebrates at the Museum of Natural History in Dresden from 1929 until World War II.

Meise produced the first review of bird species new to science in 1934 at the eighth International Ornithological Congress (IOC), followed by an update at the ninth IOC in 1938.[2][3] He spent three years in a prison camp in Siberia after the war, and joined the Berlin's Natural History Museum in 1948. In 1951, he was appointed curator of ornithology at the Museum of Natural History in Hamburg and professor at the University of Hamburg.[1]

During the 1950s, Meise was the President of the Jordsand Club for the Protection of Seabirds at a time when such endeavours were at an early stage. He undertook an expedition to Angola in 1955 and, during the following years, published several papers on geographical variation, speciation, and evolution of African birds.

Meise produced 47 parts of Max Schönwetter's handbook Handbuch der Oologie between 1960 and 1992, following Schönwetter's death in 1960.[4] The work consists of 3666 pages and presents in detail all species and subspecies whose eggs are known. According to Meise, there are 30000 - 35000 sub-species of birds, and the eggs of only half of these are known to science.[5]

Meise’s 170 publications dealt mainly with birds, but occasionally with the taxonomy of scorpions, spiders, lizards, snakes, and molluscs. He retired in 1972, and died aged 101 in 2002.


  1. ^ a b c Haffer, Jurgen (2003) "In memoriam: Wilhelm Meise, 1901-2002" The Auk, 120(2): 540. (Apr 2003)
  2. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in German) Meise, W. (1934) "Fortschritte der ornithologischen Systematik seit 1920" Proc. VIII Cong. Internat. Ornith. pp49-189
  3. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in French) Meise, W. (1938) "Exposition de types d'oiseaux nouvellement décrits au Muséum de Paris" Proc. IX Cong. Internat. Ornith. pp46-51
  4. ^ ‹See Tfd›(in German) Schönwetter, Max; Meise, Wilhelm Handbuch der Oologie, Akademie Verlag Berlin, 1960-1993.
  5. ^ The Egg Collection Finnish Museum of Natural History. Retrieved November 24, 2007
Barn swallow

The barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) is the most widespread species of swallow in the world. It is a distinctive passerine bird with blue upperparts and a long, deeply forked tail. It is found in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. In Anglophone Europe it is just called the swallow; in Northern Europe it is the only common species called a "swallow" rather than a "martin".There are six subspecies of barn swallow, which breed across the Northern Hemisphere. Four are strongly migratory, and their wintering grounds cover much of the Southern Hemisphere as far south as central Argentina, the Cape Province of South Africa, and northern Australia. Its huge range means that the barn swallow is not endangered, although there may be local population declines due to specific threats.

The barn swallow is a bird of open country that normally uses man-made structures to breed and consequently has spread with human expansion. It builds a cup nest from mud pellets in barns or similar structures and feeds on insects caught in flight. This species lives in close association with humans, and its insect-eating habits mean that it is tolerated by humans; this acceptance was reinforced in the past by superstitions regarding the bird and its nest. There are frequent cultural references to the barn swallow in literary and religious works due to both its living in close proximity to humans and its annual migration. The barn swallow is the national bird of Estonia.

Erwin Rommel

Johannes Erwin Eugen Rommel (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was a German general and military theorist. Popularly known as the Desert Fox, he served as field marshal in the Wehrmacht (Defense Force) of Nazi Germany during World War II, as well as serving in the Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic, and the army of Imperial Germany.

Rommel was a highly decorated officer in World War I and was awarded the Pour le Mérite for his actions on the Italian Front. In 1937 he published his classic book on military tactics, Infantry Attacks, drawing on his experiences from World War I. In World War II, he distinguished himself as the commander of the 7th Panzer Division during the 1940 invasion of France. His leadership of German and Italian forces in the North African campaign established his reputation as one of the most able tank commanders of the war, and earned him the nickname der Wüstenfuchs, "the Desert Fox". Among his British adversaries he earned a strong reputation for chivalry, and the North African campaign has often been called a "war without hate". He later commanded the German forces opposing the Allied cross-channel invasion of Normandy in June 1944.

Rommel supported the Nazi seizure of power and Adolf Hitler, although his reluctant stance towards antisemitism, Nazi ideology and level of knowledge of the Holocaust remain a matter of debate among scholars. In 1944, Rommel was implicated in the 20 July plot to assassinate Hitler. Due to Rommel's status as a national hero, Hitler desired to eliminate him quietly instead of immediately executing him, as many other plotters were. Rommel was given a choice between committing suicide, in return for assurances that his reputation would remain intact and that his family would not be persecuted following his death, or facing a trial that would result in his disgrace and execution; he chose the former and committed suicide using a cyanide pill. Rommel was given a state funeral, and it was announced that he had succumbed to his injuries from the strafing of his staff car in Normandy.

Rommel has become a larger-than-life figure in both Allied and Nazi propaganda, and in postwar popular culture, with numerous authors considering him an apolitical, brilliant commander and a victim of the Third Reich although this assessment is contested by other authors as the Rommel myth. Rommel's reputation for conducting a clean war was used in the interest of the West German rearmament and reconciliation between the former enemies – the United Kingdom and the United States on one side and the new Federal Republic of Germany on the other. Several of Rommel's former subordinates, notably his chief of staff Hans Speidel, played key roles in German rearmament and integration into NATO in the postwar era. The German Army's largest military base, the Field Marshal Rommel Barracks, Augustdorf, is named in his honour.

Erwin Stresemann

Erwin Stresemann (22 November 1889, in Dresden – 20 November 1972, in East Berlin) was a German naturalist and ornithologist. Stresemann was an ornithologist of extensive breadth who compiled one of the first and most comprehensive accounts of avian biology of its time as part of the Handbuch der Zoologie (Handbook of Zoology). In the process of his studies on birds, he also produced one of the most extensive historical accounts on the development of the science of ornithology. He influenced numerous ornithologists around him and oversaw the development of ornithology in Germany as editor of the Journal für Ornithologie. He also took an interest in poetry, philosophy and linguistics. He published a monograph on the Paulohi language based on studies made during his ornithological expedition to the Indonesian island.

List of bird species discovered since 1900

This article describes bird species discovered since 1900. Before the 20th century, and into its early decades, the pace of discovery (and "discovery") of new species was fast; during this period, with numerous collecting expeditions into species-rich areas not previously visited by western ornithologists, up to several hundred new species per decade were being described. Many of these were of course not new to the local people, but since then, the pace has slowed, and new species are generally only being found in remote areas, or among cryptic or secretive groups of species. Nonetheless, several tens of species were described for the first time even during the 1990s. Considerable time can pass between discovery and publication, for a number of reasons.

Individual countries particularly rich in species newly described during this period are:





PhilippinesA number of individuals have been particularly prolific in describing new species, such as:

Niels Krabbe

Paul Coopmans

Bret Whitney

List of centenarians (scientists and mathematicians)

The following is a list of centenarians – specifically, people who became famous as scientists and mathematicians – known for reasons other than their longevity. For more lists, see lists of centenarians.

List of ornithologists

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

Max Schönwetter

Max Schönwetter (1874–1961) was a German ornithologist.

Max Schönwetter was primarily interested in oology. In 1960 the first part of his monumental Handbuch der Oologie Akademie-Verlag, Berlin, Germany was published. After his death,in the same year his work was carried on by Wilhelm Meise. The 47 parts published between 1960 and 1992 details and provides photographs of the eggs of all species and subspecies whose eggs are known (about half the known species, the eggs of the other half are unknown). Much of the work is based on specimens in the Ragnar Kreuger collection. The Max Schönwetter collection of 20,000 eggs from almost 4,000 bird species of birds is in the zoological collections of the University of Halle-Wittenberg.

Sind sparrow

The Sind sparrow (Passer pyrrhonotus) is a passerine bird of the sparrow family, Passeridae, found around the Indus valley region in South Asia. It is also known as the jungle, Sind jungle, or rufous-backed sparrow. Very similar to the related house sparrow, it is smaller and has distinguishing plumage features. As in the house sparrow, the male has brighter plumage than female and young birds, including black markings and a grey crown. Distinctively, the male has a chestnut stripe running down its head behind the eye, and the female has a darker head than other sparrow species. Its main vocalisations are soft chirping calls that are extended into longer songs with other sounds interspersed by breeding males. Historically, this species was thought to be very closely related to the house sparrow, but its closest evolutionary affinities may lie elsewhere. The species was discovered around 1840, but went undetected for several decades afterwards.

Within its Indus valley breeding range in Pakistan and western India, the Sind sparrow is patchily distributed in riverine and wetland habitats with thorny scrub and tall grass. During the non-breeding season, some birds enter drier habitats as they disperse short distances from their breeding habitat, or migrate into western Pakistan and the extreme east of Iran. Since this species is fairly common and expanding its range, it is assessed as least concern on the IUCN Red List. The Sind sparrow is social while feeding and gathers in small groups both while breeding and during winter dispersal. It feeds mostly on seeds and less often on insects, foraging close to the ground. Nests are made in the branches of thorny trees, and are untidy globular masses constructed from grass or other plant matter and lined with softer material. Both sexes are involved in building the nest and caring for the young, and usually raise two clutches of three to five young each breeding season.

Willi Hennig

Emil Hans Willi Hennig (April 20, 1913 – November 5, 1976) was a German biologist who is considered the founder of phylogenetic systematics, also known as cladistics. In 1945 as a prisoner of war, Hennig began work on his theory of cladistics, which he published in 1950. With his works on evolution and systematics he revolutionised the view of the natural order of beings. As a taxonomist, he specialised in dipterans (ordinary flies and mosquitoes).

He is remembered, among other things, for Hennig's progression rule in cladistics, which argues controversially that the most primitive species are found in the earliest, central part of a group's area.


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