Egyptian goose: the true flying Dutchman?

The Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) was imported to England from the 17th century onwards. Still, the English author Stevenson hypothesized that Egyptian geese wandered from the Netherlands to the coast of Norfolk (UK) in 1808. This statement is interesting because feral populations of Egyptian geese in the Netherland are not known prior to the 1960s. Should this make us rewrite the history of the presence and dispersal of Egyptian geese in Holland?

Link to article
Egyptian goose: the true flying Dutchman?


Pisanello’s pelican puzzle

A painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Pisanello (ca. 1395–1455?) shows us pelicans, but were they even present in 14th century Italy? In this essay I try to find the source of the displayed pelicans.


Link to article:
Pisanello’s pelican puzzle
A biologist’s view on The Vision of St. Eustace by Pisanello

A bird of filth and splendour

A while ago I wrote an article about the occurrence of several bird species in the Netherlands during the 18th century. (Here!) Among those bird species was the hoopoe (Upupa epops). Whilst seeking for 18th century images of the hoopoe, I also encountered much older depictions dating from the Medieval period.
I noticed that birds were depicted in an odd fashion. Details were left out and even the bird’s most prominent feature, its crest of feathers, was sometimes omitted. I’m fortunate that the hoopoe’s beauty was restored by 17th and 18th century naturalist painters. But, how did we get there? How did depictions of the hoopoe changed throughout the course of time? And above all, what factors are to be held responsible for these changes? In this article several depictions of the hoopoe will be shown and changes in the appearance and identity of the bird will be examined.

Link to article:
A bird of filth and splendour
Changes in the appearance and identity of the hoopoe throughout the history of art

Fine feathers make fine birds?

I stumbled upon a painting by the Dutch painter Aart Schouman (1710-1792).
In this article I examine the birds in his composotion and their occurrence during the 18th century. Furthermore, I examine to what extent Schouman succeeded at portraying the species in a natural way.

Link to article:
Schouman the naturalist: Fine feathers make fine birds?
Examining a painted canvas from a biological point of view.

Unfortunately, I was not able to access
Bol, A.J. (1991).Aart Schouman. Ingenious painter and draughtsman. Doornspijk: Davaco.
This work is likely to reveal more information.