Willy Fantails

To: Geoff Ryan <>, "" <>
Subject: Willy Fantails
From: Peter Pfeiffer <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2017 22:16:18 +0000
Weird common names is part of our Aussie culture. (we are still defining our 
culture so why not keep what we have got)
The Scientific name is constant.

I use still use Jabiru, know of Blue Cranes and Bluejays, have never heard of 
Eechongs and Peewees is just not right.
I use Magpie-Lark but they will always be known to me as the Murray magpie.

It makes everything more interesting.

Cheers from the land of Fritz and Farmers Union Iced Coffee.


Peter Pfeiffer
 Technical Officer
  School of Chemical and Physical Sciences

  Bedford Park SA 5042
  Tel:        (+61 8) 8201 2604
  Fax:       (+61 8) 8201 2905

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of 
Geoff Ryan
Sent: Friday, 20 January 2017 7:03 AM
Subject: Willy Fantails

Surely it is more sensible to change anachronistic and confusing common names 
even if it upsets our possessive addiction to those names in common use.

I know several people who still insist on calling the Australian Black-necked 
Stork a Jabiru. The up-coming generation of birders will not thank us oldies 
who refuse to adopt sensible common names. I grew up calling White-faced Herons 
- 'Blue Cranes'; Black-faced Cuckoo Shrikes - 'Bluejays'; Rufous Whistlers - 
'Eechongs' and still have trouble not calling Magpie Larks - 'Peewees'. I am 
glad more appropriate and less confusing common names have been adopted for 
these species.

Common names listed in Field Guides and species lists are not just used by 
parochials but by international birders - the less confusing and ambiguous the 

I'll probably be using the name Willy Wagtail up until the day I die but hope 
that the more sensible choice of Willy Fantail has replaced Willy Wagtail on 
the adopted lists of common names.

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