Bird Names

To: "ozbird" <>
Subject: Bird Names
From: "Susan Myers" <>
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 18:44:17 +1000
Time to stir up an old hornets nest!
A few days back Robert Berry referred to a very interesting article by Hugo
Phillipps in the latest Vic Babbler, in which he discusses bird names. From
that the issue of short keys was discussed at length by a number of
subscribers but to my mind Hugo raises a far more pertinent topic, that is,
the matter of Aboriginal vs European names. Why do we continue to accept
second rate versions of European bird names for our unique Australian
birds? Is it because there are no Aboriginal names for a lot of the smaller
species - I find that hard to believe - or is it a matter of convenience
(can't be bothered remembering new names)? I think it's such a shame that
we can't assign better names to robins, babblers, magpies,etc all of which
have no relation whatsoever to the European species after which they were
named a couple of centuries ago - they just happen to be superficially
similar. Compare those names to the far more aesthetically pleasing and
evocative names such as currawong, emu or galah! 
Does anyone know of any Aboriginal names for some of our birds that are not
presently in common use? I'm not suggesting that we start a revolution but
at the very least we should be a bit more knowledgable of the indigenous
culture of this country. I refuse to believe there isn't a better name for
the Australian Magpie ;-)

Susan Myers
phone: +61 3 9819 2539
Email:Susan Myers 

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