In general I agree with John Penhallurick. However there again, some (very
few) of the 1978 names were not so well chosen. Feral Pigeon and Feral
Chicken made a bit of a mockery of the two industries based on those birds.
How could you straight faced go into the KFC and request a rear quarter
feral chicken with chips? Let alone in proper ornithological literature
describe observations of our birds of prey taking Feral Chickens from inside
a henhouse or Feral Pigeons from a homing flock or loft? Of course they
should have been called Commensal Pigeon and Commensal Chicken. As they are
both species that live with humans, whether in a domestic or a feral state.
Not only that, any system that substitutes a nice (nine letter) descriptive
name Maned Duck with yet another boring Australian something, as
undistinctive as Wood Duck (18 letters) has to have something odd about it.
However considering individual opinions all the time would have kept us
going around in circles.
From: John Penhallurick <>
Date: Friday, 14 August 1998 16:28
Subject: Common Names
>Following up on Ian Fraser's post:
>I did not agree with the idea of having a poll as a means of choosing
>I think the Recommended English Names put out by the RAOU committee in 1978
>(if my memory serves me correctly, which it does decreasingly often these
>days!) should stand. I believe that the only basis for changing them is
>a reasoned case. In each case, the committee provided reasons for their
>choice. For example, of Nankeen Kestrel and Nankeen Night-Heron, they said
>that a) the word Nankeen was obsolete, no longer in common use and most
>people didn't know what it meant anyway; and b)in any case, the colours of
>the Kestrel and the Night-Heron did not correspond to the colour designated
>by "nankeen" in any case. These struck me as perfectly sound reasons, and
>think it was a retrograde step to go back to Nankeen in these two cases.
>If a majority of voters vote for The Ballad of Eskimo Nell as their
>favourite poem in the forthcoming poetry contest, does this transform the
>ballad into something of high literary worth which every person interested
>in literature should strive to master???? It's unfortunately too long for
>national anthem, otherwise I would be tempted to suggest it as a
>for that mawkish ditty Advance Australia Fair.
>Associate Professor John M. Penhallurick<>
>Phone BH( 61 2) 6201 2346 AH (61 2) 62585428
>FAX (61 2) 6258 0426
>Snail Mail Faculty of Communication
> University of Canberra,A.C.T.2601, AUSTRALIA
>OR PO Box 3469, BMDC, BELCONNEN, ACT 2617, AUSTRALIA
> "I'd rather be birding!"
> "Vivat,crescat,floreat Ornithologia" Hartert,Vog.pal.Fauna,p.2016.