Whooper swan and scientific tautonyms

Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) photographed over RSPB Ouse Washes, five of thousands that arrive from Scandinavia to overwinter in The Fens.

If you’re wondering about that scientific binomial, it’s a tautonym, the same word used twice to indicate that this species “cygnus” is the “type” of the genus Cygnus.

There are dozens of example Buteo buteo (Common Buzzard), Carduelis carduelis (Goldfinch) Bufo bufo (common toad), Cricetus cricetus (hamster), Lutra lutra (European otter). There are many more, some are given in triplicate Gorilla gorilla gorilla (Western lowland gorilla).

There’s another I could add: Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix)

Then there’s the seemingly nonsensical sentence: “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.”

It does parse. Google it. You’ll see.