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A few days ago, this lovely community helped me track down my ornithologist birdbrain of a partner. Today, I've lost him again, and it might be a little tougher to find him! After all, he’s very flighty. I’ll let myself out.

This time, he took a bunch of vacation days at work and disappeared overnight, and left me a note:

Mick,

See if you can find me this time – I went somewhere a little more exotic. When you've followed all the clues, take the first letter of each answer you find (in English, of course). Kaló taksídi!

P.S. If you have trouble finding me, I'll text you some pictures of the birds here! <3

Below that was a list of birds and some symbols:

Rosy-throated longclaw

↑ ↑ ↓ (MO) ↓ (CIT)

Yellow-throated leaflove

↑ ↑ ↓ (CH) ↓ (FL)

Spectacled cormorant

↑ ↑ ↓ (M) ↓ (P)

Hooded vulture

↑ ↑ ↓ (AC) ↓ (AC) ↓ (ETHROP)

Pesquet’s parrot

↑ ↑ ↑ ↓ (PCU) ↓ (L) ↓ (V) ↓ (U)

White-bellied sea eagle

↑ ↓ (P)

Where did my partner go this time? (And how much am I going to have to shell out for a plane ticket?)

Text Message Clue #1: (12 hours elapsed)

Common wood pigeon

Found a common wood pigeon taking a little nap today! (They don't have these back home!) Did you know their Latin name is Columba palumbus, part of the Columbidae family? Super fascinating! Anyway, hope the hunt is going well!

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  • $\begingroup$ I think there's a typo in the Hooded Vulture letters $\endgroup$
    – Mohirl
    Sep 16, 2020 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Mohirl ETHROP was intentional obfuscation so as not to make the puzzle solution obvious, as a bird/biology person would immediately catch on to ERYTHR as a taxonomical code. $\endgroup$
    – Sciborg
    Sep 16, 2020 at 17:23
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough, that makes sense. I wouldn't have had a clue - just happened to be struck by divine inspiration as I looked as the sidebar after I googled Rosy-throated longclaw. Great puzzle! $\endgroup$
    – Mohirl
    Sep 16, 2020 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Mohirl I'm really glad you liked it and thank you for solving it! :) $\endgroup$
    – Sciborg
    Sep 17, 2020 at 0:19

1 Answer 1

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My partner is in

Cyprus

Based on the hint, I think I might have an idea on how to go about solving this

The hint points us towards

The scientific classification of the bird, consisting bottom up of Species / Genus / Family / Order / Class / Phylum / Kingdom

Each line below the bird names begins with one or more up arrows, followed by one or more down arrows accompanied by some letters. I suspect that the up arrows

Represent how far up the scientific classification we go from the Species

while the down arrows indicate we should

Go back down a level, with the letters indicating which option we should choose

For example: Rosy-throated longclaw

Kingdom: Animalia /Phylum: Chordata / Class: Aves / Order: Passeriformes / Family: Motacillidae / Genus: Macronyx / Species: M. ameliae

So we start with the:

Species, then go up two level (two up arrows) to the Family.

We then

Go down (MO) into the genus Motacilla. After that we need to go down again (CIT) which gives us the Citrine wagtail, Motacilla citreola.

We're told to take the first letter of each answer in English, so presumably that just means

C (or possibly CW)

The rest of this could take some time.

Yellow-throated leaflove

↑ ↑ ↓ (CH) ↓ (FL)

Passerine > Chlorocichla > Yellow-bellied greenbul (Chlorocichla flaviventris). Second letter = Y.

Spectacled cormorant

↑ ↑ ↓ (M) ↓ (P)

Phalacrocoracidae > Microcarbo > Microcarbo pygmaeus = Pygmy Cormorant. So P.

Hooded vulture

↑ ↑ ↓ (AC) ↓ (AC) ↓ (ETHROP)

Accipitridae > (AC) Accipitrinae > (AC) Accipiter > (ETHROP) Accipiter erythropus = Red-thighed sparrowhawk. Letter R. (Possible typo here with ETHROP?)

Pesquet’s parrot

↑ ↑ ↑ ↓ (PCU) ↓ (L) ↓ (V) ↓ (U)

We go further up to the Order this time, Psittaciformes > (PCU) ??? (confirmed by OP, path should be Psittaculidae (PCU).and from there down to Loriinae (L) and down to Vini (V). (U) then gives us Vini ultramarina = Ultramarine lorikeet , thus U

White-bellied sea eagle

↑ ↓ (P)

Only up one level to the Genus, Haliaeetus, then down (P) to Haliaeetus pelagicus = Steller's sea eagle. Which gives us S.

So altogether, we have

CYPR?S which, confirmed by the note wishing us good luck in Greek, indicates we're off to Cyprus

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  • $\begingroup$ I apologize for confusion on Pesquet's, my intended path was down to Psittaculidae (PCU).and from there down to Loriinae (L) and down to Vini (V). However that may not have been clear since that taxonomy is confusing and sources disagree on it sometimes. Marking you as correct since you solved it, well done! :) $\endgroup$
    – Sciborg
    Sep 16, 2020 at 17:34
  • $\begingroup$ Ah thanks, only seeing your comments now. I'd used Wikipedia for the rest and figured there might be a better source that would make that one clearer. I'll edit it in for completeness $\endgroup$
    – Mohirl
    Sep 16, 2020 at 18:05

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