Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot

Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot (10 May 1748, Yvetot - 1831, Rouen) was a French ornithologist.

Vieillot described a large number of birds for the first time, especially those he encountered during the time he spent in the West Indies and North America, and 26 genera established by him are still in use. He was one of the first ornithologists to study changes in plumage, and also one of the first to study live birds as well as skins.

Vieillot was born in Yvetot. He was in business on the Caribbean island of San Domingo (Haiti), but was forced to flee to the United States during the French Revolution. During his time there he began studying the birds of the country, and collected material for his Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de l'Amérique Septentrionale (1808).

He returned to France in 1800 (or 1801), where he obtained a post as a writer on the Bulletin des Lois. He continued to write on birds, producing Histoire naturelle et générale des colibris, oiseaux-mouches, jacamars et promerops (1802) with illustrations by his friend Jean Baptiste Audebert, followed by Histoire naturelle des plus beaux oiseaux chanteurs de la zone torride (1806).

In Analyse d'une nouvelle Ornithologie Elémentaire (1816) Vieillot set out his system of ornithological classification, which he continued in his contributions to the Nouveau Dictionaire d'Histoire Naturelle (1816-19). In 1820 Vieillot undertook the continuation of the Tableau encyclopédique et méthodique, commenced by Pierre Joseph Bonnaterre in 1790. He went on to write Ornithologie Française (1823-30).

He is believed to have died in poverty in Rouen.

Vieillot is commemorated in the binomials of a number of birds, such as Lybius vieilloti (Vieillot's Barbet) and Saurothera vieilloti (the Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo).

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