I am all for a bit of freehand name-using, and getting away from some of the more cumbersome labels. However, Mark is correct in pointing out that departure from a name that is to be preferred in the interest of avoiding confusion can, well, cause confusion. I have a paper file somewhere from years ago of correspondence with the Canberra Times about this same ever-newsworthy species. Not only was a photo of the Noisy Miner once used, but on another occasion a photo of a Hill Myna Gracula religiosa, a species often kept in North America, as a cage-bird. The cage-bird is often known in the US as a ‘Myna Bird’, a form that, curiously, has now come into use in Australia for the Common Myna.
From: Ian Fraser [
Sent: Monday, 16 April 2012 2:37 PM
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Mynas
Alternatively, a bird's "correct name" is only correct (or at least uniquely so) to those who believe it to be so... This is a hoary old one and I'm not really going to kick it off again, but we all know what we mean by Indian Myna in Australia. I even regularly refer to Peewees, Spine-tailed Swifts and Spur-winged Plovers!
You know where to find me Mark.... :-)
On 16/04/2012 14:23, Mark Clayton wrote:
One of the most useful purposes of a chat line such as that from COG is that we are able to educate people in many things, not least the correct name of birds. One that keeps cropping up and that annoys me greatly, as it did the late great Steve Wilson, is the name Indian Myna. The bird’s CORRECT name is Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis (that’s the bird’s scientific name in italics for those who are not sure about what it means). The name is that used by the IOC, an international group that is one of several such organisations that keep updated lists of the world’s birds and the list that most people, including a lot of people in Birds Australia, or whatever they are calling themselves this week, are now using rather than the out of date Christidis and Boles that COG follows. The myna is found as a naturally occurring species in much of South-east Asia, not just India.
I know the name does not fit into CIMAG’s catchy name (CCMAG just doesn’t have that “ring” to it) but let’s get the name of the species correct. It is errors like this that keep confusing people, especially beginners.
I also recently saw a program on, I think, A Current Affair, that spoke of Canberra’s concerted effort to eradicate the myna. Part way through it flashed up a picture of a Noisy Miner, (Manorina melanocephala) with no explanation that it was a different, and native, species. Confusion between the two species is common and not helped by this sort of mix up.
If you want to learn bird names, please learn, and USE, the correct one.
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