To: Martin Cake <>
Subject: names
From: Dave Torr <>
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2017 02:36:02 +0000
As far as I know IOC does have an Aussie representative on their committee.

I quite agree that BLA's names are weird and unlikely to be accepted. Why
did they not just follow IOC or BLI rather than (badly) re-inventing a

On 29 January 2017 at 11:32, Martin Cake <> wrote:

> Hi all,
> I can understand the anger at having English names foisted on us from
> overseas. But directing this anger at “the boffins” is rather misdirected.
> Instead, take a look at the abysmal state of the processes we have (or
> rather, don’t have) in Australia for naming birds when a new name is
> required.
> If a species is split, one or the other half of the split needs a new
> name, period. This occurs (mostly!) due to advances in taxonomic
> understanding, not whims of scientific fancy. Moaning about this is like
> shaking your fist at the incoming tide.
> But currently Birdlife Australia’s ‘English Name Committee’ subserviently
> follows BirdLife International, which shows no sign of taking any notice of
> their little Aussie cousin on either taxonomy or English names. Most field
> guides on the other hand prefer to follow the IOC list, which generally
> respects existing local usage and has some Australian input. But in either
> case the English names will be decided overseas, without any official
> mechanism for input from any sort of Australian ’names committee'.
> BLA could (and should) be proactive in forming local English names of
> prospective splits before they occur. There is usually enough time between
> scientific publication of evidence for a split, and its adoption by the
> checklists, to provide some local advice on a new name. Instead BLA’s ENC
> persists with the laughably absurd policy of giving every subspecies a
> long-winded geographic name. For example Greg has recommended Satin Stork
> for E. asiaticus australis to BLA’s ENC, but instead they currently have it
> listed in the WLAB as “Torresian Black-necked Stork”. Just be thankful that
> BirdLife International took no notice when splitting White-quilled
> Honeyeater, ignoring WLAB’s recommended name of “Northern Blue-faced
> Honeyeater”; Western Fieldwren (WLAB = “Western Wheatbelt Rufous
> Fieldwren”); Paperbark Flycatcher (WLAB = “Northern Restless Flycatcher”);
> or Kimberley Flyrobin (WLAB=“Western Lemon-bellied Flycatcher”).
> So instead of shaking your fist at the boffins, why not take a look at how
> ineffectual BirdLife’s ENC is at actually naming Australian birds? We need
> an Australian ENC that can respond quickly to the latest news in taxonomy,
> and engage with the international checklist bodies like IOC and Clements.
> And that is not likely to occur while BirdLife persists with the ridiculous
> BirdLife/HBW/Tobias system of taxonomy, the root problem now and into the
> future.
> Martin
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