S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Pelzeln*, August von (ornithology)

Born: 1825, Place not known.
Died: 1891, Place not known.

August von Pelzeln (wrongly named von Pelzein by Spohr, 1979), Austrian ornithologist, spent most of his professional life in Vienna, where he appears to have been in charge of the Imperial ornithological collection. Between 1856 and 1890 he published (in German) about 55 papers, almost all of them in ornithology. A number of these dealt with the Imperial collection, others with birds collected by individuals and expeditions all over the world. One of his major contributions was a 176p monograph on the birds collected by the Novara Expedition in 1857-1859 (Vienna, 1865).

Von Pelzeln was co-author with Emil Holub* of Beiträge zur Ornithologie Südafrikas (Vienna, 1882), one of the most interesting books on South African ornithology of the nineteenth century. According to Spohr (1979), von Pelzeln accompanied Holub on his travels in southern Africa during 1872-1877. However, judging from his publication list this seems very unlikely. Furthermore, Fock (1976/7) in his paper on Holub's travels does not mention von Pelzeln at all. It is therefore almost certain that he did not visit South Africa.

List of sources:
Fock, G.J. Emil Holub (1847-1902), ein Afrikaforscher aus Böhmen. Journal of the South West Africa Scientific Society, 1976/7, Vol. 31, pp. 99-109.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers [1800-1900]. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

Spohr, O.H. Emil Holub and August von Pelzein look at the birdlife of South Africa in the 1870's. Bokmakierie, 1979, Vol. 31, pp. 37-39.

Compiled by: C. Plug