To: Clive Nealon <>, Martin Cake <>, Birding-Aus <>
Subject: names
From: John Graff <>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:50:55 +0000
The problem is we have two stilts in Australia, one has a completely white 
head, and it isn't the  'White-headed'!


From: Birding-Aus <> on behalf of Clive 
Nealon <>
Sent: Tuesday, 31 January 2017 7:32 AM
To: Martin Cake; Birding-Aus
Subject: names

I'm not sure I understand the problem with White-headed Stilt. If the
Australian form is considered distinct, as it is by IOC, then the
'White-headed' fits perfectly with the scientific name given (Himantopus
If it is to be considered a race of H. himantopus then Black-winged Stilt
is the widely recognised name for that form.

On Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 2:41 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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