Bahama Oriole (Icterus Northropi) illustrated in A Naturalist in the Bahamas (1910) Bahamas

Icterus Northropi illustrated in A Naturalist in the Bahamas (plate 1)
Icterus Northropi illustrated in A Naturalist in the Bahamas (plate 1)

Custodian: University of Glasgow Library Research Annexe

Reference: Library Research Annexe Store 9649

The yellow and black Bahama Oriole (Icterus Northropi) is a bird species unique to the Bahamas. In 2012 the species was listed as critically endangered.

The bird was named for American ornithologist and zoologist, John Isiah Northrop (1861–91); the illustration comes from an account of the trip Northrop and his botanist wife, Alice, took to the Bahamas in 1889 which was published in his memory: A Naturalist in the Bahamas: John I. Northrop, October 12 1861-June 25, 1891; a memorial volume (New York: Columbia University Press, 1910). It was edited and introduced by Henry Fairfield Osborn, professor of zoology at Columbia University where Northrop worked as a tutor and was killed in a laboratory explosion shortly before the birth of his son, John Howard Northrop, who became a Nobel prize-winning chemist.

The inscription at the top of the illustration suggests the image was published originally in The Auk, the journal of the American Ornithologists' Union.

(Additional information: Roger M. Herriott, 'John Howard Northrop, July 5, 1891–May 27, 1987', Biographical Memoirs, vol. 63, 1994, pp. 423–41 [accessed online, 14 November 2013].)