Early Ornithology and Kindred Subjects Trivia Questions and Answers

What mythical bird, described by Marco Polo, was said to be able to lift an elephant?

  • The Phoenix
  • The Rukh
  • The Roc
  • The Griffin

Correct Answer: The Rukh

Correct Answer Explanation: Marco Polo’s account of the rukh, a mythical bird said to be capable of lifting an elephant, illustrates the blending of observation and exaggeration that often occurred in early accounts.

Which explorer first encountered penguins and seals at the Angra de Sam Bràs, a bay on the south-west coast of Africa?

  • Christopher Columbus
  • Vasco da Gama
  • Ferdinand Magellan
  • James Cook

Correct Answer: Vasco da Gama

Correct Answer Explanation: The first voyage of Vasco da Gama to India, documented in the Roteiro da Viagem de Vasco da Gama, provides valuable insights into the encounters with penguins and seals at the Angra de Sam Bràs, a bay on the south-west coast of Africa.

Which valuable spice was the Dutch East India Company primarily interested in when they took control of the Banda Islands?

  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Pepper
  • Cloves

Correct Answer: Nutmeg

Correct Answer Explanation: The Dutch East India Company’s strategy to eradicate nutmeg trees on all islands except Amboyna and the Banda Islands, demonstrates the pursuit of economic dominance and control over valuable commodities.

What was the name of the ship that Dirk Hartog, a Dutch explorer, commanded in 1616?

  • The Eendragt
  • The Geelvink
  • The Batavia
  • The Duyfken

Correct Answer: The Eendragt

Correct Answer Explanation: The retrieval of a tin plate engraved with details of Dirk Hartog’s ship, the Eendragt, in 1616, provides concrete evidence of early Dutch exploration in Australia.

What bird, native to Ceram, was mistakenly believed to inhabit the Banda Islands?

  • The cassowary
  • The emu
  • The penguin
  • The ostrich

Correct Answer: The cassowary

Correct Answer Explanation: The story of a cassowary being presented to the Estates of Holland in 1597, after being brought from Java, highlights the fascination with exotic animals and the exchange of species between continents.

Which explorer discovered black swans in Western Australia in 1696?

  • Willem de Vlaming
  • Abel Janszoon Tasman
  • James Cook
  • Matthew Flinders

Correct Answer: Willem de Vlaming

Correct Answer Explanation: The discovery of black swans in Western Australia during De Vlaming’s expedition in 1696 illustrates the unique avian life of the region and the challenges faced in identifying unfamiliar species.

What type of bird, with a distinctive white plumage and a long, sharp beak, was observed by Marion Dufresne in Tasmania?

  • Cormorants
  • Gannets
  • Penguins
  • Albatrosses

Correct Answer: Gannets

Correct Answer Explanation: The identification of pelicans (Pelecanus conspicillatus) by Marion Dufresne in Tasmania demonstrates the accuracy of his observations and the presence of this species in the region.

Which striking black bird with white tufts, known for its beautiful song, was observed by Marion Dufresne in New Zealand?

  • The Kiwi
  • The Moa
  • The Tui
  • The Kakapo

Correct Answer: The Tui

Correct Answer Explanation: Marion Dufresne’s description of the ‘black thrushes with white tufts’, which are now recognized as Tuis (Prosthemadura Novæ-Zealandiæ), highlights his ability to observe and document distinctive features of these birds.

What is the name of the large, blue-colored pigeon that Marion Dufresne observed in New Zealand?

  • The New Zealand Wood Pigeon
  • The Kereru
  • The Pigeon
  • The Dove

Correct Answer: The New Zealand Wood Pigeon

Correct Answer Explanation: The detailed description of a large, blue-colored wood pigeon in New Zealand, likely the Hemiphaga Novæ-Zealandiæ, provides valuable information about the bird’s appearance and habitat.

What Portuguese word meaning ‘itinerary’ or ‘route’ refers to a personal narrative of a voyage?

  • Roteiro
  • On-dit
  • Assagais
  • Sotilicario

Correct Answer: Roteiro

Correct Answer Explanation: The first voyage of Vasco da Gama to India, documented in the Roteiro da Viagem de Vasco da Gama, provides valuable insights into the encounters with penguins and seals at the Angra de Sam Bràs, a bay on the south-west coast of Africa.

What French term meaning ‘hearsay’ or ‘rumor’ is used to describe stories and accounts that are based on unreliable information or speculation?

  • Roteiro
  • On-dit
  • Assagais
  • Sotilicario

Correct Answer: On-dit

Correct Answer Explanation: Often early explorers provided accounts of encounters with birds and animals that were not based on first-hand observation.

What type of spear was commonly used by indigenous peoples of southern Africa, often tipped with horn or metal?

  • Roteiro
  • On-dit
  • Assagais
  • Sotilicario

Correct Answer: Assagais

Correct Answer Explanation: Assagais were tools used by local populations.

What is the Portuguese name for the Cape penguin, reflecting the bird’s supposed cunning and its ability to dive underwater to evade predators?

  • Roteiro
  • On-dit
  • Assagais
  • Sotilicario

Correct Answer: Sotilicario

Correct Answer Explanation: The Sotilicario was often described in historical accounts as clever and quick.

What group of flightless birds, including ostriches, emus, cassowaries, and rheas, are characterized by their large size and strong legs?

  • Psittaci
  • Megapodius
  • Struthious Birds
  • Cormorants

Correct Answer: Struthious Birds

Correct Answer Explanation: Struthious Birds are a group of birds that have evolved to live without flight.

Which zoogeographic region, defined by Alfred Russel Wallace, encompasses the islands of the Banda Sea and shares a common avifauna with Australia?

  • Wallace’s Australian Region
  • Wallace’s Line
  • The Oriental Region
  • The Papuan Region

Correct Answer: Wallace’s Australian Region

Correct Answer Explanation: The islands of the Banda Sea have a unique collection of birds and animals and have a shared ancestry with Australia.

What is the scientific order that includes parrots, characterized by their colorful plumage and strong beaks?

  • Psittaci
  • Megapodius
  • Struthious Birds
  • Cormorants

Correct Answer: Psittaci

Correct Answer Explanation: Parrots are a diverse and colorful order of birds.

Which genus of birds, known for their unique nesting behavior of building large mounds of vegetation and debris to incubate their eggs, includes the Scrub Fowl?

  • Psittaci
  • Megapodius
  • Struthious Birds
  • Cormorants

Correct Answer: Megapodius

Correct Answer Explanation: Megapodius birds rely on heat to incubate eggs instead of their bodies.

What type of bird, with webbed feet and a hooked beak, is known for its diving abilities and feeding on fish?

  • Psittaci
  • Megapodius
  • Struthious Birds
  • Cormorants

Correct Answer: Cormorants

Correct Answer Explanation: Cormorants have evolved to be expert divers and fishers.

What disease, affecting sailors during the Dutch expedition to Bantam, highlights the health risks faced by early explorers?

  • Malaria
  • Scurvy
  • Typhoid
  • Dysentery

Correct Answer: Scurvy

Correct Answer Explanation: Scurvy is caused by a lack of Vitamin C, a crucial component of a healthy diet.

How many black swans were brought alive to Batavia from Western Australia during Willem de Vlaming’s expedition, only to die soon after their arrival?

  • One
  • Two
  • Three
  • Four

Correct Answer: Three

Correct Answer Explanation: The difficulty of transporting animals over long distances, especially exotic animals, is highlighted by the unsuccessful effort to bring black swans to Batavia.

Approximately how long did Marion Dufresne spend in New Zealand during his voyage, documenting the rich avian diversity of the region?

  • Two months
  • Three months
  • Four months
  • Five months

Correct Answer: Four months

Correct Answer Explanation: Marion Dufresne’s time in New Zealand allowed for him to observe and document a variety of bird species and their behaviors.

How many sailors on one ship of the first Dutch expedition to Bantam suffered from scurvy?

  • Twenty
  • Twenty-five
  • Thirty
  • Thirty-three

Correct Answer: Thirty or thirty-three

Correct Answer Explanation: Scurvy was a common disease among sailors.

What type of waterfowl was observed by the French expedition on the lakes of New Zealand, indicating the abundance of these birds in the region?

  • Swans
  • Ducks and teals
  • Geese
  • Cormorants

Correct Answer: Ducks and teals

Correct Answer Explanation: New Zealand is a habitat for a large variety of ducks and teals.

What is the name of the large, flightless bird, native to Australia, that Willem de Vlaming encountered on the Australian coast?

  • The Emu
  • The Cassowary
  • The Ostrich
  • The Rhea

Correct Answer: The Emu

Correct Answer Explanation: The emu is a large flightless bird native to Australia.

What type of bird, observed by Marion Dufresne in New Zealand, is known to spend the summer months in the country before migrating to islands of the Pacific Ocean?

  • The Kiwi
  • The Tui
  • The Curlew
  • The Kakapo

Correct Answer: The Curlew

Correct Answer Explanation: Curlews are a type of bird that migrates over long distances.

What is the name of the bird that is often seen in forested areas throughout New Zealand, known for its unique call?

  • The Kiwi
  • The Moa
  • The Tui
  • The New Zealand Wood Pigeon

Correct Answer: The New Zealand Wood Pigeon

Correct Answer Explanation: The New Zealand Wood Pigeon is an important part of the New Zealand ecosystem.

What is the name of the bird, described by Marion Dufresne as a ‘black bird of the form of an oyster-catcher, and possessing a red bill and red feet’, that is now identified as the Sooty Oyster-catcher (Hæmatopus unicolor)?

  • The Kiwi
  • The Moa
  • The Tui
  • The Sooty Oyster-catcher

Correct Answer: The Sooty Oyster-catcher

Correct Answer Explanation: The Sooty Oyster-catcher is a type of bird that is common to New Zealand.

What is the term used to describe the tendency to embellish narratives with mythical elements?

  • Roteiro
  • On-dit
  • Folklore
  • Mythmaking

Correct Answer: Mythmaking

Correct Answer Explanation: Often early explorers would tell tales that were more interesting than they were true.

What does the term ‘etymology’ refer to?

  • The study of the origin and history of words
  • The study of the origin and history of birds
  • The study of the origin and history of myths
  • The study of the origin and history of explorers

Correct Answer: The study of the origin and history of words

Correct Answer Explanation: Etymology is a very important discipline to those studying language and linguistics.

What does the phrase ‘Onbekende Zuidland’ refer to?

  • The unknown southern land
  • The unknown northern land
  • The unknown eastern land
  • The unknown western land

Correct Answer: The unknown southern land

Correct Answer Explanation: Onbekende Zuidland refers to Australia.

Which explorer, in 1772, visited Tasmania and New Zealand, documenting the avian life he encountered?

  • Willem de Vlaming
  • Abel Janszoon Tasman
  • James Cook
  • Marion Dufresne

Correct Answer: Marion Dufresne

Correct Answer Explanation: Marion Dufresne was an early explorer who made significant contributions to ornithology.

What is the name of the large, flightless bird that was erroneously believed to inhabit the Banda Islands?

  • The Emu
  • The Cassowary
  • The Ostrich
  • The Rhea

Correct Answer: The Cassowary

Correct Answer Explanation: The Cassowary was common in areas that were close to the Banda Islands but was not present there.

What is the name of the scientific classification that groups together organisms that share a common ancestor?

  • Taxonomy
  • Phylogeny
  • Morphology
  • Anatomy

Correct Answer: Taxonomy

Correct Answer Explanation: Taxonomy is a key system used by scientists for classification.

What is the name of the bird that is native to Ceram, not the Banda Islands, but was imported to other islands, including Amboyna and Java, where it was presented to the Estates of Holland in 1597?

  • The Emu
  • The Cassowary
  • The Ostrich
  • The Rhea

Correct Answer: The Cassowary

Correct Answer Explanation: The cassowary was an exotic bird that was introduced to different areas.

What is the name of the historical account that describes the first voyage of Vasco da Gama to India?

  • The Roteiro da Viagem de Vasco da Gama
  • The Diary of Vasco da Gama
  • The Journal of Vasco da Gama
  • The Logbook of Vasco da Gama

Correct Answer: The Roteiro da Viagem de Vasco da Gama

Correct Answer Explanation: Vasco da Gama’s journey was well documented.

What is the name of the large, flightless bird that was described by Marco Polo as being able to lift an elephant?

  • The Emu
  • The Cassowary
  • The Ostrich
  • The Rukh

Correct Answer: The Rukh

Correct Answer Explanation: The Rukh is a mythical bird that is said to have existed but was never proven to have existed.

What is the name of the spice that was grown on the Banda Islands?

  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Pepper
  • Cloves

Correct Answer: Nutmeg

Correct Answer Explanation: Nutmeg was an important spice and source of income for the Dutch East India Company.

What is the name of the island where the cassowary was native to, not the Banda Islands?

  • Amboyna
  • Java
  • Ceram
  • Timor

Correct Answer: Ceram

Correct Answer Explanation: The Cassowary was native to Ceram but was spread to other islands.

What is the name of the explorer who discovered the black swans in Western Australia in 1696?

  • Willem de Vlaming
  • Abel Janszoon Tasman
  • James Cook
  • Matthew Flinders

Correct Answer: Willem de Vlaming

Correct Answer Explanation: Willem de Vlaming was an early explorer of Australia and the South Pacific.

What is the name of the bay on the south-west coast of Africa where Vasco da Gama first encountered penguins and seals?

  • The Angra de Sam Bràs
  • The Bay of Biscay
  • The Bay of Bengal
  • The Cape of Good Hope

Correct Answer: The Angra de Sam Bràs

Correct Answer Explanation: The Angra de Sam Bràs is a bay on the west coast of Africa.

What is the name of the bird that is often seen diving for fish, with a distinctive white plumage and a long, sharp beak?

  • The Cormorant
  • The Gannet
  • The Albatross
  • The Penguin

Correct Answer: The Gannet

Correct Answer Explanation: Gannets are a common type of seabird.

What is the name of the striking black bird with white tufts, known for its beautiful song, that was observed by Marion Dufresne in New Zealand?

  • The Kiwi
  • The Tui
  • The Moa
  • The Kakapo

Correct Answer: The Tui

Correct Answer Explanation: The Tui is a unique New Zealand bird.

What is the name of the large, blue-colored pigeon that Marion Dufresne observed in New Zealand?

  • The Kereru
  • The New Zealand Wood Pigeon
  • The Pigeon
  • The Dove

Correct Answer: The New Zealand Wood Pigeon

Correct Answer Explanation: The New Zealand Wood Pigeon is a unique and beautiful bird that is native to New Zealand.

What is the name of the bird that is often seen in forested areas throughout New Zealand, known for its unique call?

  • The Kiwi
  • The Moa
  • The Tui
  • The New Zealand Wood Pigeon

Correct Answer: The New Zealand Wood Pigeon

Correct Answer Explanation: The New Zealand Wood Pigeon is a very unique and important part of the New Zealand ecosystem.

What is the name of the bird, described by Marion Dufresne as a ‘black bird of the form of an oyster-catcher, and possessing a red bill and red feet’, that is now identified as the Sooty Oyster-catcher (Hæmatopus unicolor)?

  • The Kiwi
  • The Moa
  • The Tui
  • The Sooty Oyster-catcher

Correct Answer: The Sooty Oyster-catcher

Correct Answer Explanation: The Sooty Oyster-catcher is a bird common to New Zealand.

What is the name of the Portuguese word meaning ‘itinerary’ or ‘route’ that refers to a personal narrative of a voyage?

  • Roteiro
  • On-dit
  • Assagais
  • Sotilicario

Correct Answer: Roteiro

Correct Answer Explanation: Roteiros were important records of voyages for many early explorers.

What is the name of the French term meaning ‘hearsay’ or ‘rumor’ that is used to describe stories and accounts that are based on unreliable information or speculation?

  • Roteiro
  • On-dit
  • Assagais
  • Sotilicario

Correct Answer: On-dit

Correct Answer Explanation: On-dits are unreliable sources of information.

What is the name of the type of spear that was commonly used by indigenous peoples of southern Africa, often tipped with horn or metal?

  • Roteiro
  • On-dit
  • Assagais
  • Sotilicario

Correct Answer: Assagais

Correct Answer Explanation: Assagais are tools used by local populations.

What is the name of the Portuguese name for the Cape penguin, reflecting the bird’s supposed cunning and its ability to dive underwater to evade predators?

  • Roteiro
  • On-dit
  • Assagais
  • Sotilicario

Correct Answer: Sotilicario

Correct Answer Explanation: The Sotilicario was described in early historical accounts.

What is the name of the group of flightless birds, including ostriches, emus, cassowaries, and rheas, that are characterized by their large size and strong legs?

  • Psittaci
  • Megapodius
  • Struthious Birds
  • Cormorants

Correct Answer: Struthious Birds

Correct Answer Explanation: Struthious Birds are unique birds that have evolved to live without flight.

What is the name of the zoogeographic region, defined by Alfred Russel Wallace, that encompasses the islands of the Banda Sea and shares a common avifauna with Australia?

  • Wallace’s Australian Region
  • Wallace’s Line
  • The Oriental Region
  • The Papuan Region

Correct Answer: Wallace’s Australian Region

Correct Answer Explanation: The islands of the Banda Sea have a unique collection of birds and animals and have a shared ancestry with Australia.

What is the name of the scientific order that includes parrots, characterized by their colorful plumage and strong beaks?

  • Psittaci
  • Megapodius
  • Struthious Birds
  • Cormorants

Correct Answer: Psittaci

Correct Answer Explanation: Parrots are a diverse and colorful order of birds.

What is the name of the genus of birds, known for their unique nesting behavior of building large mounds of vegetation and debris to incubate their eggs, that includes the Scrub Fowl?

  • Psittaci
  • Megapodius
  • Struthious Birds
  • Cormorants

Correct Answer: Megapodius

Correct Answer Explanation: Megapodius birds rely on heat to incubate eggs instead of their bodies.

What is the name of the type of bird, with webbed feet and a hooked beak, that is known for its diving abilities and feeding on fish?

  • Psittaci
  • Megapodius
  • Struthious Birds
  • Cormorants

Correct Answer: Cormorants

Correct Answer Explanation: Cormorants have evolved to be expert divers and fishers.

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