religion

ABORIGINAL BIRD NAMES

218 3

If there is a better bird name anywhere in the world than Dyuckle Nyuckle (spelled many different ways) I would be surprised.  This wonderful name mimics the sounds made by the pink and grey cockatoos that live in WA and in many other parts of Australia.
The following article published on 12 September 1921 mentions other wonderful Aboriginal names for birds that reflect bird sounds.  Do you know any more?
ABORIGINAL BIRD NAMES
Many of the Aboriginal bird names are the syllabised notes of the birds. Some of them have long since come into popular usage and others are following suit; but there are dozens that should be retained that are in danger of being lost.
The keenness of the Aboriginal people’s ear for bird notes is indicated in the names resembling their call which they gave to familiar species, as boobook (owl), kurrawong (pied bell magpie), koolbardi (grey bell magpie), jakul-yakul (wee jugla, or pink cockatoo), quook-quook (topknot pigeon), doo-doo (ground dove), dilbong (bellbird), and gorgork (rufous barn owl).
The wattlebird seems to say 'got to walk,' and the Aboriginal name, gurruwak, just about hits it. Willy-wagtail was called jirri-jirri and pul-cherry-cherry, the notes of the bird being interpreted by settlers as 'Kitty Fisher' and 'sweet, pretty creature.' [It’s jyit-jyit or jyitti jyitti on Noongar country].
The kookaburra, also gets its name from its cry, there being a good deal of kookoo at the beginning and finishing of its laugh. Its northern cousin, Leach’s kingfisher, is Aboriginally known as kitticarrar. The stone curlew was called woolo or wooloo; [weeloo on Noongar country] the bittern, boon-boon; and the white cockatoo, karaka and caraway [and manitj]. There is a similarity in several of the cockatoo names, as karak (the western black or red-tailed cockatoo), and larawak (the great-billed black cockatoo), which is accounted for by the part resemblance of cockatoo calls.

3 Comments

Leave a Comment

Related News