To: "" <>
Subject: names
From: Martin Cake <>
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2017 06:41:43 +0000
Mostly in reply to Frank -

Yes I should stress that IOC has proactive and thoughtful Aust representation 
and has generally done a great job on English names. Swan River Honeyeater 
being one exception, but that was soon corrected - proof that the flexible and 
democratic IOC process works. And yes White–headed Stilt being another, and 
hopefully that can be fixed too. Clements changed to Pied Stilt in 2006, HBW 
use Pied Stilt for the subspecies (Frank - note the HBW books and HBW Alive DO 
often list English names for distinctive subspecies), as do the New Zealanders 
so if BLA continue to split it then great to hear they will adopt that name 
too. But if BLA instead adopt BirdLife International’s lump, then they should 
stick with the international name of Black-winged Stilt – you can’t play it 
both ways.

Yes some credit is due to BLA for reviving the ENC back from the dead. Sounds 
hopeful that some of the awful regional names for subspecies will be replaced 
by authentic names. But that will not solve the problem while the HBW/BLI 
taxonomy remains, and this will remain a major roadblock for engagement with 
IOC/Clements on English names. It is not as simple as saying the taxon level 
doesn’t matter for English names.
For example, where a split taxon is distributed right across Australia but BLA 
lumps it, there will be no reason to debate an Australian name or record it in 
WLAB. eg. Torresian/Collared Kingfisher, Australasian/Purple Swamphen.
2nd example, where a split taxon is polytypic, there is currently no mechanism 
for WLAB to name subspecies “groups”, as Clements does proactively. e.g. 
Copperback Quail-thrush, Silver-backed Butcherbird.
Finally the slow laboured process you describe Frank, weighed down by 
bureaucratic paperwork, is hardly compatible with the sort of nimble ENC I was 
calling for!

But if people want to participate in useful debate on English names, how about 
proactively debating names for Aust Raven perplexus (Waardong Raven perhaps?) 
and Scarlet Robin campbelli (please not Campbell’s Robin!) ?

(On aboriginal names, yes these are potentially a great idea but there are some 
big cultural barriers, firstly the advice I’ve had is that the taxon/bird's 
distribution should closely match the language group used to be culturally 
appropriate (pretty unlikely when you look at a language map), and secondly the 
difficulty in seeking let alone obtaining official “permission" to use them)

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