Common Names

To: Maris Lauva <>
Subject: Common Names
From: Dave Torr <>
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2017 20:27:18 +0000
I agree that the naming of our endemic birds should be left to us -
although of course we need an "authority" to decide on such names. But
changing names of birds which occur here and in other countries really
needs to be an international agreement - most birders do not know the
scientific names and it is very confusing if common names differ between
countries. First time I went to New Zealand birding I looked at the field
guide and thought there were lots of "ticks" - then I realised that quite a
few NZ birds are Aussie birds with a changed name.

On 30 January 2017 at 03:45, Maris Lauva <> wrote:

> Phew! What a range of opinion. Personally I am in the "leave it be" group
> but when do you draw the line? Names have been changing forever.
> I'm thinking all of us are being self-centred and promoting our particular
> view and one argument is as good as another.
> Think outside the box. Think next generation. Let's leave them with names
> that are unique, descriptive and attractive. BUT THEY DON'T HAVE TO RELATE
> TO SOME SORT OF INTERNATIONAL STANDARD. So there's an authority taking it
> on themselves to alter names to fit their rules. So long as our names are
> unique and chosen by us, just tell the "authorities" to get stuffed. It's
> COMMON names we are talking about for goodness sakes, used, I would
> suggest, 99.9% in Australia. Any international references would use the
> latin.
> How could Willie Wagtail confuse anybody for goodness sake! How could you
> tell 20,000,000 Australians you've decided to change the name of their
> favourite bird? And can anybody honestly say any of the mooted alternatives
> are better? Same with "Magpie" Why shouldn't our "Maggies" be taxonomicaly
> unrelated to "Magpies" elsewhere. Touring USA I had no problem
> understanding that. After hosting many overseas visitors over the years
> I've not found any of them to be confused by the concept that our "robins"
> are not the same as theirs.
> The current alternative to "Honeyeater is neither descriptive nor
> attractive. Get the science nerds on splitting, lumping and assigning Latin
> names and birdwatchers on assigning common names for the common person that
> will roll off the tongue and let newcomers see a link between the bird and
> the name. (not to mention non-birdos) If you want to make changes, nuke
> "Gerygone". There's many others - If you have to explain a name it should
> be shot down.
> To do that, all of us, in our own particular cliques, have to give up our
> favourites. I'm happy to surrender "Jabiru" and "Thick-Knee", but let's
> have something attractive and descriptive. "Stone-Curlew"? uh uh.
> Black-necked Stork when it's head is Blue (or satin) just shows up the
> ignorance of those who have decided our names in the past.
> Maris Lauva
> <HR>
> <BR> Birding-Aus mailing list
> <BR> 
> <BR> To change settings or unsubscribe visit:
> <BR>
> </HR>
<BR> Birding-Aus mailing list
<BR> To change settings or unsubscribe visit:

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU