Recently, Kay wrote an excellent post - It’s the Animal Instinct in Me… - about the unusual dichotomy in using animal names. While there is a trend for vocabulary names, there are some that are seen as perfectly acceptable and fashionable, and others that are not.
One of the acceptable groups, it would seem, is bird names.
Several names mean simply "a bird": Aderyn in Welsh, Faigel or Faiga in Yiddish, Sarika in Sanskrit and Zipporah in Hebrew. Birdie is also found in occasional use as an offshoot of Bridget.
Crow and Raven
Corvus is the Latin name for the crow and also the genus name, of which Ravens are a part of. Technically ravens are a type of crow, but not all crows are ravens. Corbin and Korbinian both derive from corvus.
Ravens have had a long history in folklore. In Irish mythology they are associated with the war goddess Morrigan. In Norse mythology, ravens Huginn "thought" and Muninn "memory," carry messages back to Odin, king of the gods. And, of course, let us not forget the ravens that protect the Tower of London and kept for good luck.
The Celtic name for the crow, bran, appears in several names, including Bran, Branok, Branwen and Branwaladr / Branwalather. The Irish name for the raven is fiach which has given the names Fiacc, Fechine and Fiachna.
The English name "raven" derives from the proto-Germanic hrabnaz (Hrafn in Norse, Hræfn in Old English, Hraban in Germanic). Hrafn and Hraban/Raban have been used as personal names, and the element can also be found in Bertram "bright raven" Guntram "war raven" Ingram "Engel's raven" Wulfram "wolf raven."
Oreb is a biblical Hebrew name, and appears in the Old Testament as the name of a Midianite prince (along with Zeeb "wolf").
Long associated as symbols of peace and love, the dove is found as inspiration for many names including: Aghavni (Armenian), Columba (Latin), Colm, Colman (Irish), Callum (Scottish) Jemima, Jonah, Jonas (Hebrew), Paloma (Spanish), Toiba (Yiddish), Usoa (Basque).
Columba, the Dove, is also a small constellation.
Interestingly, in ornithological terms, the general terms "dove" and "pigeon" are somewhat interchangeable, though dove is generally seen as a positive term, and pigeon is seen as a negative. Fans of Disney's Lady and the Tramp may be softened by Tramp affectionately calling Lady "Pigeon."
Eagles have long been used as symbols for strength and courage, from the standards of Roman armies, to the official seals of the Ptolemaic Egyptian rulers and on to the Imperial Eagle of the Holy Roman Emperors. The eagle was the bird of Zeus for the Greeks, and later Jupiter of the Romans. The Latin name for eagle is Aquila, which has been used on both boys and girls over time, and has also given its name to the Eagle constellation. The Greek name is Aetos. Other "eagle" names include Haytham in Arabic, Ari in Finnish, and Ezio in Italian.
The Scandinavian arn "eagle" is found in several names including Arne, Andor "Thor's eagles," Arnbjorg "eagle protection," Arnold "eagle power," Arnulf "eagle wolf," Arvid "eagle tree" and Arlette.
Falco, the Latin name for the falcon and also the genus name, is believed to originate from Old Germanic term falko "falcon" from which Falk, the more modern German form, originates.
In the Egyptian pantheon Horus is the falcon headed god with whom the Pharoahs associated themselves as.
Merlin is a type of falcon, as is the Peregrine, and kestrels and hawks are also categorised as falcons. Shahin in Iranian and Akos in Turkish both mean "falcon" and one theory suggests that Gawain (Gavin) derives from the Welsh word for hawk.
The lark is the sweet singing bird of the morning. Three girls were given the name Lark last year in England and Wales, and more recently Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly named their daughter Agnes Lark. Andre Previn and Mia Farrow named their daughter Lark Song in 1973. Laerke (LER-keh) is the Danish word for lark, and was the 4th most popular girls name in Denmark in 2009. Alondra is also a Spanish name which means "lark."
The Latin genus name for seagulls is Larus. Gwylan is the Welsh name for the bird, and also found as a girls name, whilst Morwennol is the Cornish. Marti is the Turkish name for the seagull and Shahaf is the Hebrew.
Sparrow turned heads in 2009 when Nicole Richie and Joel Madden named their son Sparrow James Midnight. The name came into pop culture thanks to Johnny Depp's lovable pirate Jack Sparrow. Dror is the Hebrew name and Drorit and Drora are used as feminine forms. Suzume "sparrow" in used as a feminine name in Japan.
Martins and swallows are a part of the same group. Chelidon (Χελιδών), the Greek name for a swallow, is mentioned in Greek mythology , in a tragic story of sibling devotion, as sister to Aedon "nightingale." In some sources they are called Philomela (Chelidon) and Procne (Aedon). Plutarch mentions Chelidonis, a Spartan woman of great beauty and royal blood. The Celandine flower derives from chelidon as it was though that the plant flowered when the swallows arrived.
In Cornish, the name for swallow is Gwennol, and is found as a feminine name. Tsubame is found in Japan and Parastoo in Iran.