Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
I’ve been on safari for a few weeks. Among the animals encountered, I had a good idea that the bateleur would prove to be a sitting duck. The bateleur is a colourful eagle that performs aerial acrobatics over the skies of southern Africa. Its scientific name is Terathopius ecaudatus, which means “marvelous looking but tailless.” The missing tail means that it swerves unsteadily in flight, as if continually catching its balance, like a tightrope walker. This is presumably some sort of tradeoff for the ability to follow the twists and turns of prey in flight. A bateleur is a French tumbler, acrobat, or tightrope walker. Lots of folks think it’s probably a battler, especially if they see it up close at a fair.
battler eagle in flight
Stock photo: Battler Eagle at Renaissance Fair, Las Vegas, Nevada
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-1895978 … evada.html
There are over 350 species of birds including African snipe, Battler eagle
http://www.northerncircuitadventure.com … serve.html
I wondered at first, to myself, whether the name bateleur came from a boatman. Nope, that’s a batelier. Francophiles might be interested in an interesting current idiomatic confusion between scams and boats that sprang from the word bateleur – see .
Last edited by burred (2013-08-26 13:23:40)