I don't know if this has been done for Australian birds, but I know there
is a dictionary of scientific names for birds generally. No, of course I
can't remember any details, like title, author! However, I found these
references in the Deakin library catalogue:
AUTHOR Lockwood, W. B. (William Burley)
TITLE The Oxford book of British bird names
PUBLISHED Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1984.
PHYS DESCR ix, 174 p. ; 21 cm.
NOTES Bibliography: p. -20.
SUBJECT Birds --Great Britain --Nomenclature (Popular) --Dictionaries.
AUTHOR Gruson, Edward S.
TITLE Checklist of the birds of the world; a complete list of the
species, with names, authorities, and areas of distribution
PUBLISHED London : Collins, 1976.
PHYS DESCR xii, 212 p. : maps ; 25cm.
NOTES American ed. has title: Checklist of the world's birds.
Maps on lining papers.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
SUBJECT Birds --Classification.
Birds --Nomenclature (Popular)
A look at the bibliography of Frith (1969) 'Birds of the Australian High
Country' may give you some more info. The big Readers' Digest book of
Aussie birds has the name of the original species describer, and year, as
does Christidis & Boles (1994).
Following on from a recent posts about bird-movies, maybe someone can
think of some 'original' descriptions of scientific names???? I couldn't,
apart from realising that Necohmia temporalis (RB Firetail), Poephila
personata (Masked finch), Neochmia modesta (Plum-headed Finch) and Circus
approximans (Swamp Harrier) hold enormous potential for mis-translation
of the Latin! Go to it.