To: L&L Knight <>
Subject: names
From: Dave Torr <>
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2017 20:25:51 +0000
​But what is an "official name" Laurie? Is it enshrined in legislation -
and if so is it Federal or State - and in the latter case do they all agree?

There are various naming "authorities" that birders use - BLI/HBW, BLA,
IOC, Clements etc but are any actually "official"?

On 31 Jan 2017 6:09 a.m., "Laurie Knight" <> wrote:

> I think part of the problem is that there is no "public consultation” in
> the naming process.  The official names are set in a closed process.  Even
> when the options are limited governments generally have a consolation
> process both to widen the range of perspectives and to increase the
> likelihood of public acceptance of the outcome.  That way you can avoid
> clangers (like Ground Butcherbird) that will never fly.
> Laurie.
> On 30 Jan 2017, at 4:41 pm, Martin Cake <> wrote:
> > 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)
> >
> > Martin
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