Birds Australia - English Names Committee

To: "Shirley Cook" <>
Subject: Birds Australia - English Names Committee
From: "Tony Keene" <>
Date: Fri, 05 Nov 2010 02:27:37 +0100
If I remember correctly, the Index of Organism Names takes the bird names 
directly from the IOC, which they also rely on for taxonomic information as 
well, so that makes it far from international acceptance, although I imagine 
that would follow without much of a problem. I also think that the IOC list is 
an excellent tool for ornithology, but can have shortcomings in the English 
names department when English-speaking countries other than the US are involved 
- there are several members from Britain on the IOC, but it is unlikely that 
many of the IOC names will make it into common usage in field guides in the UK 
(Common Murre, Common Merganser, etc), not because of parochialism, but because 
they aren't the common name that's been used for hundreds of years. You should 
have seen the complaints when the recent edition of the Collins Field Guide 
changed the divers to loons... I know they have a hard job keeping everyone 
happy, what with spellings of words like 'grey/gray' and whet
 her something is a hawk or a buzzard having been up for serious discussion in 
the past and it's a really impressive project.
One advantage to having Australian authorities naming the birds here would be 
that you might avoid the terminally dull 'eastern' and 'western' names for 
splits and that something a little more imaginitive might happen. It's also 
very sad to see wonderful birds being dumped with the over-used and not always 
helpful epithet 'Eurasian', when more interesting alternatives could be used, 
but that would just be my opinion. ;)


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