To: 'birding-aus' <>
Subject: names
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2017 21:30:02 +0000
The 2013 book "Australian Bird Names" by Ian Fraser and Jeannie Gray gives a
lot of details about most of these issues and the history of most names.
Highly recommended to inform more useful discussions about this. As someone
has already done the hard work to provide the information, best to make use
of it.

As for the Willy Wagtail, Willy has always been a mystery to me (I wonder
who else) and I thought John's addition on that interesting but I don't
understand it. That book (above) does not have any mention or any thing for
or against what John wrote. And isn't that idea John gives, complicated by
that Pied Wagtail, given to mean the same, is already occupied as a form of
the White Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii).

As for the group names, it occurs to me that the real wagtails don't even
wag their tails (laterally - like a dog wags its tail - even the Wiggles
know that). They bob their tails (vertically). For those outside Australia
reading this, our Willy Wagtail very conspicuously wags its fanned tail.

A slight twist, in the Philippines they have a bird very similar in form and
habits to our Grey Fantail (same genus) but similar in size to and coloured
more like a Willy Wagtail. It is Pied Fantail (which would otherwise be a
better name for Willy Wagtail) but it is also known there as Maria Capra.
Rather strange name but so is our Jacky Winter.


-----Original Message-----From: Birding-Aus
 On Behalf Of Denise Goodfellow
Sent: Tuesday, 24 January, 2017 5:24 PM To: Peter Madvig        Cc:
birding-aus     Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] names

Too close to Freddo Frog


On 24 Jan 2017, at 2:13 pm, Peter Madvig <> wrote:

> Freddy Fantail....??!! Ah well :-)
> Cheers
> -----Original Message-----> From: Birding-Aus
 On Behalf Of John Leonard
> Sent: Tuesday, 24 January 2017 7:28 AM> To: >
Subject: names
> The problem with "Willy Fantail" is that Willie Wagtail is is an
inseparable unit, being an Irish and Scots name for the Pied Wagtail along
the lines of Margaret Pie = Magpie, ie a personal name followed by the bird
> If they want to rename it they have to recognise that the Willie part
isn't an adjective, and they need to find an adjective to go with Fantail
that distinguishes it from all the other Fantails, White-browed Fantail (for
example, from the scientific name).
> John Leonard

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