common names

To: Willem Jan Marinus Vader <>, birding-aus <>
Subject: common names
From: Greg and Val Clancy <>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2017 12:12:17 +0000
Well said Wim,

Greetings from hot and humid Coutts Crossing.  My mother's father was
Norwegian hence my mothers maiden name of Jansen.



Dr Greg. P. Clancy
Ecologist and Birding-wildlife Guide
PO Box 63 Coutts Crossing NSW 2460
02 6649 3153 | 0429 601 960

-----Original Message-----
From: Willem Jan Marinus Vader
Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 9:17 PM
To: birding-aus
Subject: common names

A voice from afar,
                                      I have followed these discussions with
great interest. Similar discussions have been fought in most countries and
languages. In Norway the name of the Common Swift was officially changed
from the old tårnsvale (=tower swallow) to tårnseiler (tower swift) 'because
it is not a swallow'. Fortunately, in my eyes, they stopped there, although
there are many other similar cases: the jernspurv(iron sparrow= dunnock) is
not a sparrow, the flodhest (flood horse= hippo) is definitely not a horse,
etc.  etc.. To my eyes, but I am soon 80, it is a pity to change these old
and well used names (chosen by the people, not by a committee) just for the
sake of taxonomy correctness. In Australia, of course the early settlers
chose names for all the strange birds they saw, comparing them to the birds
they knew in the countries they hailed from; and so your robins are not
robins, your magpie is not a magpie, your flycatchers are not flycatchers,
etc. etc., and your Willy Wagtail is not a wagtail. So what? I see, but of
course I have nothing to say in the matter, no reason to change all these
                                    But it is a different matter, when the
Australian name of a bird is identical to a bird name from a different
continent, as is the case  with the Jabiru and could have been the case with
some of the Gerygones. In those cases, and especially, as with the Jabiru,
when the name originally was given to a quite different bird in another
continent, it seems to me the correct thing to do is to remove the confusion
and change the most recent of the common names . There used to be Crowned
Eagles both in Africa and South America, and Black Vultures both in Eurasia
and America. Now we have the Crowned Hawk Eagle and the Cinereous Vulture.
So the Black-necked Stork in Australia cannot be called Jabiru in official
literature (I did call them that when I first saw the birds in Australia);
in howfar it needs a different name than Black-necked Stork, is up to the
                               Best greetings from Tromsø, where 1 m of snow
is going to be attacked by 60mm of rain tomorrow. Hurrah!

                             Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway
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