Goshawk takes Gallinule

To: <>
Subject: Goshawk takes Gallinule
From: "Geoffrey Dabb" <>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 19:12:50 +1100
Oh dear, the confusion created by too much compression.  I must give up this

For many years, like more than 200, 'Purple Gallinule' was in parallel use
in England (where the bird does not occur, although it does on the
continent) for P porphyrio and in the US for P martinica. (Phillip's
'Voyage' refers to the 'Purple Gallinule'.)   To avoid confusion (ha ha ha)
and in light of the current quest for international standard 'common' (cf
vernacular) names, the recommended 'common' name for the former was
'changed' to 'Purple Swamphen'.  ('Swamphen', we might note with some
satisfaction, is actually of Australian colonial origin, as Gould recorded.)

The passive voice is used above to avoid going into who 'they' are.  Let's
just say that currently most editors will require 'Purple Swamphen'.  On
this list, why not say what you like?

I said P p melanotus because I wanted to avoid complicating the matter by
bringing in the western bird.  Most writers refer to colour differences
between the 2 Australian subspecies eg Slater (bellus - 'blue'; melanotus -
'purple')   g  

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Peter Shute (NUW)
Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2006 3:01 PM
Subject: Goshawk takes Gallinule

I wasn't questioning the use of the name.  My brain has only been birding 
for a month or so, and I hadn't heard that name before.  I guessed it was an

older name and I was just trying to get an idea of how many people might 
still call it that.  Any idea when the newer name came in?  Who decides what

common names are official, anyway?

Not sure how old my "What Bird Is That" is, but it calls it Purple Swamphen.

At least 20 years old, I think.

On Thursday, December 14, 2006 1:39 PM michael hunter wrote:

>        "Purple Gallinule" is embedded in my half century old birding
> brain, it was probably  in "What Bird Is That", the only bird-guide I
> used in those days.
>       You are probably correct, if not pedantic; refer to Carl
> Clifford's posting to birding-aus on 13/12/06, ie yesterday, and my
> reply to him which will follow. Common names are common names, and
> most Australian birdos know what  "Purple Gallinule" refers to in the
> local geographical context. The new scientific name is probably a
>                                                     relatively recent
>                                                           split.


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