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Top 10: Fish with a bird name

Peacock Bass

There are fish with a bird name but not too many birds with a fish name.  Is something fishy going on?

Here are 10 fish, some quite strange, that have a “bird name.”

1. Peacock Bass
Peacock Bass

2. Parrotfish
Parrotfishes are a group of about 95 species. Many are colorful and often seen by scuba divers near reefs.

parrot fish
Photo by: Ewa Barska

3. Eagle Ray
Eagle rays are a group of cartilaginous fishes in the family Myliobatidae, consisting mostly of large species living in the open ocean rather than on the sea bottom. The image below is a Spotted Eagle Ray.
spotted eagle ray

4.  Avocet snipe-eel: This fish uses the names of two different birds.
avocet snipe eel

5.  Cuckoo wrasse
Cuckoo wrasse

6.  Bombay duck.  This is not the name of a duck – it is the name of a lizardfish. Seems they can not decide if it is a bird, lizard or fish.
bombay duck
Photograph by Hamid Badar Osmany

7.   Sea Raven.  Sea ravens are in the family of scorpaeniform fishes. They are bottom-dwelling fishes.
sea raven

8,   Sea robins or gurnard, are a family of bottom-feeding scorpaeniform fish.
sea robin

9.  The pelican eel, Eurypharynx pelecanoides, is a deep-sea fish rarely seen by humans. In this case it is easy to see how it was named.
pelican eel

10.   The turkey moray (Gymnothorax meleagris),also known as the guineafowl moray.  Seems they are stuck on naming it after a bird of some kind.
turkey moray
David Burdick


About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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