What are some nature related nicknames you’ve come up with?

What are some fun nicknames you’ve given to things you find out in nature? Here are some of mine:

Buggy Buddy: Referring to insects, and also pill bugs. This excludes when I’m being chased by a wasp/hornet, or have been bitten/stung by a bug. That isn’t a very buddy thing to do.

Lamp Lover: Usually referring to moths, or any other insects I see gathered around a light source.

Butterbug/Flutterbug/Flutterbee: Referring to butterflies.

Pollination Station: Referring to wildflower meadows or other areas with a lot of flowering plants.

'Tenna’s: An abbreviation of antenna.

'Tennies: An abbreviation of antennae

'Biscis: An abbreviation of proboscis.

Snoot garage: Referring to the labial palpi of butterflies and moths which they use to store their proboscis.

Scarf Eater: Referring to clothes moths.

Birdbug: Referring to hummingbird moths.

Slimy sausage: Referring to slugs

Ground Rounds: Referring to Limpets


Yump - yellow-rumped warbler. can be used in context of migration, as in “maximum yumpage” or “the yumping hour is nigh”
wump - white-rumped sandpiper
Release the geese - the mass northward migration of geese following the first warm spell in spring
peanut butter grouse = PBGR = Pied-billed grebe
Kumquat - any kinglet
Curio - any Cuckoo
I know I regularly use a few more but 4am is a little late for optimal brain functioning…



I can’t help but mentally call robins “Travelling Turds”. I blame whoever named it Turdus migratorius.


We use many of the banding codes for birds as their nickname. Some are convenient in that they sound like a conventional name, such as BEKI (Belted Kingfisher), whom we call “Becky,” or the convenient GREG for Great Egret. Some are fun for us to say, like TUVU (too-voo) for Turkey Vulture.

We generally refer to all living creatures as we would people. For example, if we are looking for a particular bee or bird or plant, we will say to our companion, “We saw someone over there that looked similar.”

Red-breasted Nuthatch we call “Buddy” because we want to be friends with them. :heart:

For White-breasted Nuthatch, we divide the syllables incorrectly for our nickname so that it’s Nu-thatch (New Thatch). Bald Eagle is a letter reverse so that it’s “Blad,” like Vlad.

“Romped” for Yellow-rumped Warbler.

California Quail we call “Descalso” because its song sounds like it is saying Descalso, who was a baseball player for the (aptly) Cardinals when we learned this bird’s song.

If we hear a woodpecker drumming in the distance, we say that we hear “Andre Drummond” (well-traveled NBA player).

Tanagers we often call “Teenagers.”

Barn Swallows we call “Shnoggles.”


Tenners - Antennae (“look at those tenners!” is probably one of my top-said sentences when walking with my wife)

Flying shrimp - Hummingbird moths

Jumpscare bird - Mourning doves (for their habit of loudly flying away before I even see them)

Ranchers/farmers - Any ants we see farming aphids

Little men - Any sort of small invertebrate seen in the wild

Angry men - Both wasps and Canada geese

Funjus - Fungi, usually mushrooms; sometimes “funjuses” for multiple fruiting bodies


Browsing Turdus taxonomy reveals a few more nuggets:

Not sure which of Turdus migratorius or Turdus maximus tops the pile, though.


We don’t have codes for birds, but we all shorten their names for easy use, so “большой пёстрый дятел” is “бпд”, “большая синица” is “бс-ка”, “серебристая чайка” and “озёрная чайка” are respectively “серебруха” and “озёрка”, etc., but honestly most insects and birds for me are either “тварь” or “гадина” because they always fly away. >:(

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Hemaris thysbe’s abdomen does look like a lobster tail. Sometimes I call them lobster moths.

One season, I worked with small mammals. Whenever I got a shrew, I would refer to it as “Shrewsly-Woozly.” I came up with it just because it rhymed and was cute; but it actually fits if you think about it: shrews do sort of woozle along.

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Harlie - Harlequin Tuskfish
Egghead - Darkcap Parrotfish (from it’s species name, oviceps)
Pasta Pincher - Brassy Drummer
Loiterer - Two-Spot Red Snapper
Followers - Mosquitoes
Derek - Australian White Ibis
Sneezer - Yellow Wattlebird
Choppers - any quail
Peter Pan - Greencap Parrotfish
Xanthoptilus - a surgeonfish that is either Acanthurus grammoptilus or Acanthurus xanthopterus, two species I still struggle to differentiate
Burger - Spanish Mackerel

Not exactly nicknames, but I shorten the name of many fish species. Often the “fish” part of the name gets dropped, resulting in names like Emperor Angel, Threadfin Butterfly, Pencil Surgeon, Bluespine Unicorn. Sometimes I’ll drop the genus name (so long as this wouldn’t cause confusion), to stuff like orbicularis, clarkii, oviceps, dussumieri, ocellaris, akindynos and percula. Other fish names just get shortened to one word, like Maori, Bumphead, Idol, Spinecheek, Cownose, Blacktip, Whitetip.


If you’ve ever seen those corky wings on like Winged Elm (Ulmus alata) or some of the other elms, I call that bacon. And the elms are bacon trees. It seriously does remind me of bacon.

Edit: Also with Clematis drummondii (sometimes known as Old Man’s Beard)—I call that Drummond’s Beard Hair.

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Flappers for birds
Critters for mammals
Splooshers for fish
Flitters for anything I can’t get a good look at


Turdus maximus must be many, many kurics.

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One of my college classmates came up with “granola tree” for the West Indian elm (Guazuma ulmifolia), because that’s what the fruits reminded them of.

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When being confronted by yet another insect species that we have yet to identify, and being in desert Southwest, they became Bee-tel-itos, fun to say once you get the rhythm down!


We found a twitchy shrew once so we call them Twitchies

I call the Catalpa the green bean trees

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This is definitely my kind of thread and y’all are my people. I say hello and talk to to pretty much everything as I’m taking pictures of it, or even just casually walking by. I now realize I need to step up my nickname game! Here are the ones I do have:

Mourning doves (or really any doves) are Doug
My favorite bird species (nuthatches, downy woodpeckers) are Beebees (babies)
Rabbits are buns
Whenever I see a weevil I immediately declare, ‘IT’S WEEVILTIME’ (even if I’m alone)
When I’m mothing the ones that zoom around the lights and hit the sheet a bunch before settling down are Tweakers
Canada Geese are dinosaurs
Mockingbirds are Mocks
Anything that looks at me like it has no brain is a Goober (like the pigeon in my window feeder right now)


I also talk to everything—but since I mainly study plants, I mostly just talk to plants :sweat_smile:
A long while ago when I was at Philmont, a forester told me an unusual way to distinguish spruce and fir trees and I started shaking hands with trees. Unfortunately, there aren’t many spruce or firs in Texas so I don’t do that anymore…

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