The problems with Common Names

Subject: The problems with Common Names
From: "Peter Ewin" <>
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2006 16:31:52 +1100
Was having a quick flick through my copy of HBW11 (turned up today after originally being sent to the wrong address) and came across an interesting photo on page 405. The photograph is of a Western Gerygone at the nest the same photo as an the Reader's Digest Complete Birds of Australia. This was not the first photo I had recognised (a few of the photos of Monarchs and Fantails are from this same book, or from a couple of books on PNG that I have). The problem with this photo is that the species in question is supposed to be the White-tailed Warbler a rare species from West Africa (which sounds like it makes a similar style nest to the one shown in the photo). Unfortunately this photo is listed in Reader's Digest under the same name (which was the old name before Gerygone was used commonly). Another example of where common names (ie all the Robins, Flycatchers, Wrens and Warblers) have caused confusion.
Otherwise, as usual an excellent publication, and well worth the money.

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