Swainson Illustration Gray-backed Warbler

Who Is “Swainson” and Why Are So Many Birds Named for Him?


Most birds are named for descriptive features – Red-tailed Hawk – but some are named for people. And some people, like William John Swainson, seem to have an inordinate number of birds named for them. Swainson’s Hawk, Swainson’s Thrush, Swainson’s Flycatcher, Swainson’s Warbler; the list goes on and on. Nine, in all. Swainson is best…