Cel and I had a tete-a-tete because of the colasisi's short stint. We wondered how a very small and cute parrot became associated with the coloquial 'kulasisi' meaning mistress/other woman. Was it because the parrot had an easy time jumping from one branch to the other, we really do not know. Or maybe because the name sounded so playful.
Then Cel cited there were other birds that fall victim with name associations. She named a couple. One's namesake is the negative sounding word 'pokpok' which is a Filipino slang for prostitute. Bird no. 1 was the coppersmith barbet (Megalaima haemacephala) which is my bird lifer in my previous post. Bird watchers call this small bird such because the sound it makes is similar to 'pokpok'. Well, just the luck of the barbet.
Another unfortunate bird is the bulbul (a bird group belonging to several genera) for the obvious reason its name sounds like the Tagalog word for pubic hair. There are several species of bulbuls from the Philippines. First name impressions should not tarnish how important this bird is in the environment. A lot of forest tree species are dependent on them for seed dispersal as the birds eat the fruit and carry the seeds out to great distances. Here the seeds could germinate and grow to new trees. So you see, there is so much importance for such weird-sounding-name birds.
Birds are also the recipient of some derogatory comparisons. Example is that talkative people are compared to martinez or mynah (Graculus sp.) and tarat (Lanius cristatus). Probably the ultimate is the allegory on prostitutes calling them 'kalapating mababa ang lipad' (low flying pigeons). The mynah for one is becoming endangered in its native Palawan. In Singapore. related mynahs are practically everywhere in the crowded city which makes it alarming why the native mynah is not as common. Probably better to put birds in the light as they are indicators of how sound our environment is. Their presence should often be considered a good thing, something that could make us happy, even if their names would make us laugh at times.
But generally the sudden appearance of the colasisi in Wildlife made us smile. At least we were assured that the parrot species is still around in the city.
(Colasisi picture 1 was taken by Anthony Arbias. Barbet picture by Cel Tungol.)