Ornithological Hansonism ?

To: Birding-Aus Aus <>
Subject: Ornithological Hansonism ?
From: Helen Larson <>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2010 11:51:46 +0000 (GMT)
I like Carl's last sentence - the despairing cry of the non-taxonomist.
We will never know the real true final answer - that's the fun and curiosity of 
being a taxonomist.

From: Carl Clifford <>
To: Birding-Aus Aus <>
Sent: Sun, 31 October, 2010 12:19:32
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Ornithological Hansonism ?

Dear All,

I am amazed by the constant outbreaks of ornithological Hansonism that pops up 
in B-Aus when it comes to bird names. The International Ornithological Union 
(IOU) is an international body of prominent professional ornithologists ( some 
200) who, among many other things, arbitrate on the common names of birds. The 
membership of the IOU can be seen at  Among the members of the IOU are 
Dr. Richard Schodde and Dr. Walter Boles, both of who seem to know a thing or 
two about birds.

The publication "Birds of the World : Recommended English Names" by Gill & 
Wright is published on behalf of the IOU and is "a volunteer project with 
worldwide participation by birders and professional ornithologists". The goal 
of this publication is "to facilitate worldwide communication in ornithology 
and conservation through the consistent use of English names linked to current 
species taxonomy. The English names  follow explicit guidelines for spelling 
and construction that increase clarity of application", so it it is not an 
ivory tower publicaton, but a collaboration between amateur and professional 
ornithologists. On those grounds I think it is reasonable to regard BOTW as the 
standard list of common English language names world wide. If anyone can come 
up with a rational argument as to why this should not be so, I would be very 
interested in hearing it.

As for Scientific names and species status, the Index of Organism Names (ION), 
see  , which ION contains the organism names 
related data gathered from the scientific literature for Thomson Reuters' 
Zoological Record® database. Viruses, bacteria and plant names will be added 
from other Thomson Reuters databases such as BIOSIS Previews® and Biological 
Abstracts® " is the repository for all currently accepted species of 
everything. If it lives and has been named, it is in ION.

There is a well established mechanism for the common names of birds and whether 
a species is a species, so why not stick to it, as it seems to work well.

All we need to do now is to try and get a single Avian taxonomy up and 
accepted, but I don't think any of us will see that in our lifetimes.


Carl Clifford

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