To: " Org. Au" <>
Subject: Koel
From: "Geoff \(BT\)" <>
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2007 21:48:13 -0000
Hi Noel & all in Canberra
I think you have only just uncovered the tip of the iceberg with Richards Pipit & the Koel. Take a look at the Avibase web site, , a monumental piece of work that lists just about every vernacular & scientific bird name on the planet. It isn't exactly definitive in its guidance on taxonomy for an interested by-stander like me, more like it gives you all the choices & leaves you to make your own mind up.
But for Richard's Pipit, you can now carve it up into:
  • African Pipit (Anthus cinnamomeus)
  • Cameroon Pipit (Anthus cameroonensis)
  • Mountain Pipit (Anthus hoeschi)
  • Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi)
  • Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus)
  • Australasian Pipit or New Zealand Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae) - the latter sounds a sensible choice to me !
  • Australian Pipit (Anthus australis)
That's a seven way split world-wide if you want to take it to the extreme as Avibase lists it.
And for the Koel, it's just about as clear. Avibase says that Australian Koel (Eudynamys cyanocephala) has been split from Common Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea) - which is also known as Asian Koel, Indian Koel and Pacific Koel depending on subspecies.  And Black-billed Koel (Eudynamys melanorhyncha) has been split from Australian Koel (Eudynamys cyanocephala).
Taxonomy seems to be whatever you personally choose to make of it, from whichever authoritative source, they all differ. The conclusion I draw from all this is that national committees on taxonomy may be painfully slow in coming to decisions that seem natural to us, but the alternative option is chaos & confusion as I have tried to illustrate above.
It is certainly confusing to me, so I keep an eye on potential splits on my personal list & have been trying to evolve a list based on the taxon as the basic building block rather than species, so that I can move what might be commonly regarded as a subspecies yesterday up a level to the species rank today (and vice versa if necessary).
This is just one take on the situation, others no doubt would do differently, but I thought I would like to share my thoughts as an amateur birder without any pretensions to a scientific approach to the subject which confuses the hell out of most of us.
Geoff Bowen
Norfolk, UK
  -----Original Message-----
From: Noel Luff [
Sent: 04 February 2007 22:50
To: ; COG Lists Manager
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Koel

and just to add to the confusion
the latest HANZAB has the Australasian Pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae) as opposed to Schodde & Mason/Clayton's Australian Pipit (A australis). It would also seem that Richard's Pipit is variously refered to as A novaeseelandiae or A richardi.
isn't taxonomy fun?
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