Saturday, April 27, 2013

A to Z Challenge: X is for Xenops

Remember the alphabet charts that had animals on them in your classroom as a child?  They never had an animal that started with the letter X.  Instead, they would show a silly picture of the supposed X-ray of an animal, usually the smiling Yak that made up the next letter/picture combo.

They should have instead explored, and led us to explore,  the interesting world of animals that have a name beginning with the letter X, as there are several.

Here's one, the Xenops, a small rain forest bird of the Americas:

copyright Regis Nossent June 2005

You can find more pictures of this bird here.

A list of animals that start with the letter X here.

For those with any interest at all in phonics, these words do not begin with the same sound as the letter Z.  The phonogram X is pronounced as if it is "ks," the hard K sound followed by the slithery S sound.

For those who aren't interested, i don't go into English teacher mode when people mispronounce things, so don't worry about it.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Today is

Abolition Day -- Mayotte

Babe Ruth Day -- anniversary of the day dedicated to him in 1947 by every ball field in the US and Japan

Bodega Bay Fish Festival -- Bodega Bay, CA, US (fun, fish, wine tastings, and more; through tomorrow)

Eeyore's Birthday -- Austin, TX, US (Eeyore never need feel forgotten again; Austin celebrates his birthday as a fundraiser for local charities, with fun for all)

Foxfield Races -- Charlottesville, VA, US (annual steeplechase)

Freedom Day -- South Africa

Furze-Hopping Event -- Fairy Calendar

Helena Railroad Fair -- Helena, MT, US (largest railroad hobby event in the area)

Independence Day -- Sierra Leone; Togo

International Wildlife Film Festival -- Missoula, Montana, US (through next Saturday)

Lag B'Omer -- Judaism (begins at sunset)

Lazarus Saturday -- Orthodox Christian

Matanzas Mule Day -- remembering the only casualty of one of the first naval actions of the Spanish-American War, a mule in the village of Matanzas, Cuba

Mississippi River Valley Scenic Drive -- Mississippi River valley of southeast Missouri, US (several scenic small towns along the valley have homemade goodies, quilt shows, history tours, entertainment, and more; through tomorrow)

Morse Code Day -- birth anniversary of Samuel Morse

National Day of Puppetry -- US (here for details)

National Go Birding Day -- US (but feel free to participate wherever you are, birding is fun!)

National Prime Rib Day

National Rebuilding Day -- US (270,000 volunteers help rebuild and repair homes for the elderly and disabled)

National War Veterans Day -- Finland

Redbud Trail Rendezvous -- Rochester, IN, US (living history along the Tippecanoe River; through tomorrow)

Resistance Day/Day of the Uprising Against the Occupying Forces -- Slovenia

Southern Maryland Celtic Festival & Highland Games -- St. Leonard, MD, US (competitions in fiddling, bagpipe, Celtic harp, and dancing, heptathlon, Celtic marketplace and foods, parade of clans, and more)

St. Zita of Lucca's Day (Patron of butlers, domestic servants, homemakers, housemaids, lost keys, maids, manservants, people ridiculed for their piety, rape victims, servants, servers, single laywomen, waiters/waitpersons/waitresses; against losing keys)

Tell a Story Day -- US (no history of origin, although celebrated in many libraries)

The Ennead Sail Through the Land -- Ancient Egyptian Calendar (date approximate)

Togyu Taikai -- Tokunoshima Island, Japan (bull sumo, in which bulls push each other out of the ring)

World Day for Animals in Laboratories -- WDAIL 

World Graphic Design Day

World Healing Day / World Tai Chi and Qigong Day

World Tapir Day -- see here for information about these amazing creatures

Write An Old Friend Today Day -- a real letter, in the mail, remember how exciting it is to get those?

Anniversaries Today:

Cornell University is established as New York's land grant institution, 1865

Birthdays Today:

Patrick Stump, 1984
Sheena Easton, 1959
Ace Frehley, 1951
Cuba Gooding, Sr., 1944
Earl Anthony, 1938
Sandy Dennis, 1937
Anouk Aimee, 1932
Casey Kasem, 1932
Coretta Scott King, 1927
Jack Klugman, 1922
Walter Lantz, 1900
Sergei Prokofiev, 1891
Ulysses S. Grant, 1822
Samuel Morse, 1791
Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759
Suleiman the Magnificent, 1495

Today in History:

Ferdinand Magellan is killed by natives in the Philippines led by chief Lapu-Lapu, 1521
Re-founding of the city of Bogotá, New Granada (now Colombia), by Nikolaus Federmann and Sebastián de Belalcázar, 1539
Cebu is established as the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines, 1565
The blind and impoverished John Milton sells the copyright of Paradise Lost for £10, 1667
The British Parliament passes the Tea Act, 1773
Beethoven composes Für Elise, 1810
US troops capture the capital of Upper Canada, York  (present day Toronto, Canada), 1813
The Foundation stone for new Palace of Westminster, London, is laid, 1840
The establishment of Jewish congregations in Lower Austria is prohibited, 1857
The steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,400 passengers, explodes and sinks in the Mississippi River, killing 1,700, most of whom are Union survivors of the Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons, 1865
In South Africa, the Group Areas Act is passed formally segregating races, 1950
Togo gains independence from French-administered UN trusteeship, 1960
Sierra Leone is granted its independence from the United Kingdom, 1961
Expo 67  officially opens in Montreal, Canada, 1967
Xerox PARC introduces the computer mouse, 1981
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, comprising Serbia and Montenegro, is proclaimed, 1992
Betty Boothroyd becomes the first woman to be elected Speaker of the British House of Commons in its 700-year history, 1992
Russia and 12 other former Soviet republics become members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, 1992
The first democratic general election in South Africa, in which black citizens could vote is held, 1994
The last successful telemetry from the NASA space probe Pioneer 10 is received, 2002
The superjumbo jet aircraft Airbus A380 makes its first flight from Toulouse, France, 2005
Construction begins on the Freedom Tower for the new World Trade Center in New York City, 2006
Estonian authorities remove the Bronze Soldier, a Soviet Red Army war memorial in Tallinn, amid political controversy with Russia, 2007


  1. Never heard of a Xenops. Sounds like the name of an Egyptian pharaoh.

  2. Now that you mention it, it does at that, Stephen.

  3. That little bird is almost as tiny as a hummingbird. Great to meet you via A-Z.

  4. Can't wait until my next scrabble game. Xenops is a lovely looking bird!

  5. I have heard of an x-ray tetra, on the list of animals. And I second (third) the motion of Stephens, all hail Pharaoh Xenops! (heh)

    I actually had to look up one I was going to suggest, however the animal I was thinking of starts with a Z, not an X. (Zebu). Can't win 'em all, I guess. But I would much prefer that lovely bird on your blog than an x-ray, which is definitely NOT an animal...


  6. Oh I'm so glad you shared the Xenops a beauty

    wow would love to be able to hit one day on the calendar and go to all of the events for that day...


  7. who would have known so many critters names would begin wit a X?? Cheers- have a great week!