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关关雎鸠,在河之洲。is a very well known line.

When I look up 雎鸠 in Baidu, I see pictures of ospreys, cormorants,herons, seagulls and other species.

Is it known to which bird species 雎鸠 refers?

According to this site, Pandion haliaetus is not found in China.

So I'm still wondering what 雎鸠 might be.

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雎鸠 https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%9B%8E%E9%B8%A0

今江东呼之为 (is called 鹗 in Jiangdong today)

好在江渚山边食鱼。(like to hunt fish in river and mountainside)

《毛诗·传》日:鸟鹫而有别 (similar to eagle but different, and we know hawk and osprey look similar but smaller than eagle)

From Google Translate:

鹗: osprey

osprey: 鱼鹰; 鹗; 雎

Based on the search results, 雎鸠 or 雎 is "osprey" ("fish hawk" seems like it's nickname) . Since zoology is a recent thing, what the author described, might be some kind of small sized raptor bird that hunted nearby river, very likely been osprey or fish hawk (if they are not the same thing)

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When you encounter such problems, as determining obscure words in the pre-Qin source with uncertain meaning, it is best, I think, to try to search in 中國哲學電子書 and Wikisource.

毛詩正義:雎鳩,王雎也,鳥摯而有別。

爾雅,釋鳥第十七: 鴡鳩,王鴡。

Of course you may Google more explanations, but these search results are probably pretty much all that we have as a first-hand source about explanation of the word. I mean, if people at that time had already difficulty grasping that word, I would say it is impossible to know more than they do. I remember incidentally that Stephen Owen rendered this word "Kingfishers", if that helps.

  • 这比较好的:birdnet.cn/thread-3121900-1-1.html “雎鸠是风头鸊鷉的可能性大些” kingfisher? 不认为! – Pedroski Mar 21 at 9:50
  • 從古代的注疏還是不知道“王雎”是什麼啊,你說的“鳳頭鷿鷈”也是一種推測,可能宇文所安翻成Kingfisher(翠鳥)有他的理由吧...... – Violapterin Mar 21 at 9:55

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