How to use

About this site

51 Language Bird Dictionary of the Holarctic Region

Compiled by: Ruurd Jorritsma

Site produced by: De WordPress Specialist

New in Avionary 4.3 (January 2023)

  • Expansion of region to the Holarctic region
  • Bird sounds and distribution maps presented through xeno-canto link
  • About 180 additional species and new species splits
  • Updates and extensions of many languages
  • Improved web performance

For details of the new features of Avionary 4.3 see: NEWS

First release of Avionary: 1.0, October 2003

Previous update: Avionary 4.2, November 2021

How to Use Avionary

The names of almost 2400 bird species in 51 languages (including Latin as the scientific and first language) and accompanying information are accessible on this site starting from any bird name in any of the languages. In 21 of the languages, the 136 corresponding bird families are likewise accessible.

You simply type a bird name or part thereof, in any of the 51 languages, with or without diacritics. After a sufficient number of letters have been typed, a list of possible species or families meeting the input is presented from which the bird searched can be selected with a simple click. When the list is still too long, just add more letters.

The result page shows the bird names in all the languages in alphabetic order of the two-letter code of the languages. For explanation of the language code, just click the particular language code, or see ‘Languages’ under the ‘Website Info’ tab. The list is preceded by the scientific (Latin) name and any synonyms thereof, as well as extended geographic, taxonomic and general information and a picture and sounds, through Xeno-canto link.

The relevant family (ending in ‑idae) is given below the scientific species name. The members of the same family in the language are shown by clicking on the family name. The desired family member can then be selected from the appearing listing and is shown in all languages. An alternative family name is given where this has been used in the recent past or by different authors. See under ‘Taxonomy’ under the ‘Website Info’ tab.

The regions of the world where the selected species occurs are given in abbreviated form after “Geo” (see ‘Region’ under the ‘Website Info’ tab). More detailed geographic distribution of the species is available through the Xeno-canto link.

The number of subspecies of a species is indicated after “Taxo”; if there are no subspecies, the species is indicated as “Monotypic”. Differences in species or subspecies status are presented by the indication ‘May be subspecies of …’. In case of a searched family, the corresponding order (ending in ‑iformes) is mentioned after “Taxo”. For further guidance, see ‘Taxonomy’. Possible synonyms (different name for same species within a language), as well as homonyms (confusing names, i.e. same name for different species among languages) are presented below the languages list:

  • Synonyms in English are given when a source (Clements, Howard & Moore, Birds of the World, British Birds, AOU) uses a name which is different from the name according to the primary source (IOC). These other sources are indicated by C, H, W, B and A, respectively, following the synonym.
  • Synonyms for other languages are given where a second name is almost equally common. The synonyms are also searchable.
  • Confusing names are names where the same or almost the same name is given to different species in different languages. For example, Herring Gull (English for Larus argentatus) is different from Heringsmöwe (German for Larus fuscus); Sjøorre (Norwegian for Melanitta fusca) is different from Sjöorre (Swedish for Melanitta nigra). Such cases are mentioned as ‘Confusing’ followed by the two-letter code of the language(s) having the confusing name and the scientific name of the species where one or more other languages have the same or similar name. These cases are not exhaustive, and to some extent confusion is a subjective thing; therefore, the absence of the ‘Confusing’ label does not necessarily mean that no confusion or ambiguity can arise from any of the names of a species.

Wikipedia information about the selected species in English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Swedish is presented when clicking the corresponding button.

Lists of all ornithological species and families of Avionary for all of the languages, divided in groups of 4-5 more or less related languages, are presented under “Species Lists” accessible at the top of the pages. Families which are more broadly covered in Avionary than the Avionarctic (Holarctic, pink) region are marked yellow (Holarctic plus Africa) or green (whole world).


The author wishes to thank all the experts in the various language regions who provided the names in their languages and spent considerable efforts in finding and discussing the most appropriate bird names. The names of the experts are mentioned under ‘The Languages’.

Thanks also go to those who provided photographs, sometimes without knowing it.

Infinite thanks go to Theo Smeets, who used all his admirable wits and lots of his spare time for devising, constructing and upgrading the original Avionary website. Sadly, Theo passed away in February 2021.

Many thanks also to Joost de Rooy of De WordPress-specialist for developing and continuously improving the recent upgraded versions of Avionary.

Aan Annette. Aan Theo.

Ruurd Jorritsma

Heemstede, Nederland

First release September 2003,

Latest Update January 2023.