Bernard Tucker

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Tucker in 1934, photographed by Alexander Wetmore during the 8th International Ornithological Congress for which Tucker served as treasurer and secretary of the reception committee

Bernard William Tucker ((1901-01-22)22 January 1901 - (1950-12-19)19 December 1950) was an English ornithologist. He was lecturer in zoology at Oxford University, a long-time editor of British Birds and one of the authors of The Handbook of British Birds. He was the first Secretary of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and founder of the Oxford Ornithological Society in 1921.

Tucker was born at Northaw, Hertfordshire to William and Constance Susan Tucker and was educated at Harrow School and Magdalen College, Oxford, gaining first class honours in 1923. He took an interest in birds even as a young boy. He spent 1924 at the Zoological Gardens in Naples investigating parasitism in crustaceans.[1] In 1925 he was appointed Demonstrator in the Zoological Laboratory, Cambridge. In 1926 he became Demonstrator in Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at Oxford University. In 1946 he became the first person to be appointed as a reader in ornithology in a British University. Tucker along with Max Nicholson played a key role in leading the collaborative Oxford Bird Census in 1927.[2] According to the Nicholson and J D Witherby in their obituary, Tucker was the least dramatic of men, but he did much to bring about a revolution in ornithology and to guard it against the reaction which awaits a revolution if it goes too far and too fast.[3][4]

During his stint in Naples he met Gladys Allen whom he married on July 11, 1925.[3]

A subspecies of the Bornean treepie was named after him as Dendrocitta sinensis tuckeri by Tom Harrisson and C.H. Hartley in 1934[5] but this is no longer considered a valid subspecies.[6] The BTO awards a Bernard Tucker Medal in his memory.


  1. ^ Tucker, B.W. (1930). "Memoirs: On the effects of an Epicaridan Parasite, Gyge branchialis, on Upogebia littoralis". Mem. Q. J. Microscop. Soc. s2-74 (293): 1–118.
  2. ^ Toogood, Mark (2011). "Modern observations: new ornithology and the science of ourselves, 1920–1940". Journal of Historical Geography. 37 (3): 348–357. doi:10.1016/j.jhg.2010.11.002.
  3. ^ a b Nicholson EM; Witherby JD (1951). "Obituary. Bernard William Tucker (1901-1950)" (PDF). British Birds. 44 (2): 41–46.
  4. ^ Hardy, A.C. (1951-02-03). "Obituaries. B.W. Tucker". Nature. 167 (4240): 175. doi:10.1038/167175a0. PMID 14806414.
  5. ^ Harrisson, T. H.; Hartley, C. H. (1934). "New races from mountain areas in Borneo". Bull. Brit. Orn. Club. 54: 148–160.
  6. ^ Dickinson, E.C.; Dekker, R.W.R.J.; Eck, S.; Somadikarta, S. (2004). "Systematic notes on Asian birds. 45. Types of the Corvidae". Zool. Verh. Leiden. 350: 111–148.