Distinguished author

Adriana Hoffmann Jacoby
Born 1940. Standard IPNI form: A.E.Hoffm.

As a Chilean botanist and environmentalist, Adriana Hoffmann Jacoby has authored over a dozen books on the flora of Chile and has identified and classified more than 100 new species of cacti. She was Chile's Environment Minister in 2000 and 2001. She has advocated for the sustainable management and protection of Chilean forests, leading opposition to illegal logging in her role as coordinator of Defensores del Bosque Chileno (Defenders of the Chilean Forest) since 1992.

Hoffmann was recognized by the United Nations in 1997 as one of the 25 leading environmentalists of the decade for her efforts to protect Chile's forests. In 1999 she won the National Environmental Prize in the category of Environmental Education, awarded by Comisión Nacional del Medio Ambiente (CONAMA). For her research into Chilean flora and her work in environmental education, Hoffmann received the Luis Oyarzún Award from the Austral University of Chile in 2003. She received a Fellow Award from the Cactus and Succulent Society of America in 2009.

Hoffmann has also served on the judging panel for the United Nations Environment Programme's Sasakawa Prize.

See also: Distinguished authors of previous months.


Species of the month

Common Blackbird

Turdus merula male

Turdus merula

Some facts about this bird:

Wingspan: 34–38 cm

Total length: 23.5–29 cm.

Weight: 80–125 g.

Habitat: Can exploit a large range of habitats including city centers, moors, woodland, gardens, copses, and parks.

Distribution: Breeds in temperate Europe, Asia, and North Africa; introduced into Australia and New Zealand.

Diet: Fruits, berries, earthworms and a large range of insects.

Surviving number: Abundant population.

Conservation status: Least Concern (IUCN 3.1).

First described: By the Swedish naturalist Linnaeus in 1758.


If you see a black bird pausing its activities to tilt its head to one side as if carefully listening to an oncoming sound, you may be looking at a Turdus merula. This is a common bird of medium size. The male, as the name suggests, is coloured in a glossy black with a yellow beak and eye rings while the female and young carry a slightly patchy brown colour, the young with lighter underparts. It sings a flute-reminding, melodious 'tseee' song and when alarmed, emits a loud, harsh 'pli-pli-pli'. Both sexes are territorial in the breeding season, with distinctive threat displays. The male's courtship display consists of oblique runs combined with head-bowing movements, an open beak, and a muffled low song. Blackbirds typically are loyal to the same mate until one of the pair dies. The female lays three to five eggs and the incubation lasts 12–14 days and the fledging takes another 10–19 days. Currently, nine distinct subspecies are recognised, each living in a different geographical range; other subspecies from tropical Asia formerly included in Turdus merula have recently been split out to Turdus simillimus (Indian Blackbird).

See also: Species of previous months


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