Tautonym spotting

I like repetition, duplication and loops, so I am fascinated by tautonyms1:

A tautonym is a scientific name of a species in which both parts of the name have the same spelling, for example, Rattus rattus.2

Anser anser - the greylag goose.

Anser anser - the greylag goose.

I want to see as many animals with tautonymic names as possible. Below is the list of the ones I’ve seen (confirmed and dated with photographic or audio evidence)3.

My list (so far)

  • Anser anser - the greylag goose - 16.07.2020, Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands.
  • Capreolus capreolus - Western roe deer - 08.07.2021, Dyrehaven, Denmark.
  • Ciconia ciconia - the white stork - 17.07.2020, Rijpwetering, The Netherlands.
  • Gallinago gallinago - the common snipe - 23.06.2019, Fellsmörk, Iceland (my favourite bird!)

Then there are a few that I’ve definitely seen in the (semi)-wild but either it was before I started keeping track or it was without evidence or documentation:

Domestic animals or animals seen in captivity don’t count towards my list.


Here’s some of my favourite tautonyms, I hope I have a chance to see these one day:

More tautonyms

An incomplete list of tautonyms can be found on Wikipedia, there’s at least 500 of them, so quite a lot to get to! Then there are also triple tautonyms where the generic name, the specific name and the subspecies have the same name (Pica pica pica is my fav, for pokemon and Icelandic vulgarity related reasons).

  1. Photo by Wim van ‘t Einde on Unsplash 

  2. Wikipedia contributors, “Tautonym,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed September 4, 2021). 

  3. Since 2019 I’ve used the Seek app to keep track of my animal observations. Though it recognition algorithm is kind of magical it is a bit frustrating when it does not recognise animals (or worse still misidentifies, like when it told me I’d seen Axis axis in the wild in Denmark).