How did the pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) get its name?
The word pileated comes from the name of a brimless felt hat, the conically shaped pileus of Ancient Greece and Rome. Those who wore the hat were pileated just as those who wear caps are capped.
In Ancient Rome the pileus was a sign of one’s place in society since it was normally worn only by freed slaves. However, that practice was turned on its head during Saturnalia celebrations.
On Throw Back Thursday, learn why all the Romans wore peaked caps in late December in this vintage article: Being Pileated is a Saturnalian Tradition.
Let’s get pileated.
(photo credits: woodpecker by Dick Martin. Statue in the Louvre from Wikimedia Commons, click on this link to see the original)