Mynas and TV

To: "'Mark Clayton'" <>, <>
Subject: Mynas and TV
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2012 16:06:04 +1000
Ordinarily I would agree with this viewpoint and certainly I do in this case. I was one who voted or argued against the name Indian Myna when the group started, for that reason. However "Indian Myna" does have a relevance to the aims of the group, that the name Common Myna does not convey. The program exists mainly because it is a feral (impacting on native species), not because it is common. As for confusion with the Noisy Miner, that confusion is because of the Myna / Miner word similarity and some similarities in appearance and behaviour. Confusion is not because of Common / Indian issue. The descriptor "Common" is likely to raise more confusion with the Noisy Miner than the name "Indian", because the Noisy Miner would often be thought of as common, but probably not often thought of as Indian.
Besides, communication is about 2 way understanding. Mark mentions IOC, an international group but their deliberations on nomenclature are not about communicating with this group of people: the general public in TV land.
About errors like this that keep confusing people, especially beginners. Yes true but I suggest more confusion comes from changing official names and this whole thing about keep updated lists of the world’s birds. Remember the silliness about calling the Red-browed Finch a Red-browed Firetail and regarding that as the CORRECT name for a few years, then fortunately reverting to that it is a finch closer to Star Finch and Crimson Finch. Then there is the Eastern / Pacific / Common Koel, etc. Presumably each of these has been a CORRECT name.
What makes one name "correct" and one not correct is a whole variable issue full of the whims of history. The names are just symbols or conventions. They are not absolute. Indian Myna was the CORRECT name as in the official name when I grew up (until 1978). I dispute that one name is more correct just because it is the modern name. I don't believe the Australian Magpie is a Magpie in the sense that Magpie is defined as a group of mostly colourful crows of the northern hemisphere, or that Willie Wagtail is a Wagtail in the sense that Wagtail is defined as another group of passerines. There are hundreds of such examples. But these are correct names.
As for "a lot of people in Birds Australia, or whatever they are calling themselves this week" that just displays a total lack of respect for the CORRECT name of the now merged organisation (birdlife Australia, which Mark should be well aware of - and I think is an awful name) and I think this is sarcasm that keeps confusing people, especially beginners. As well as showing a lack of respect for the hopefully new stability of the organisation that was created of a merger of two clubs that have each been functioning for about a century. Also for what it is worth "the out of date Christidis and Boles" uses Common Myna, as did the 1978 recommended names list. As for The myna is found as a naturally occurring species in much of South-east Asia, not just India, well sure. There are any number of species with geographical or other parts of their name that are not all inclusive. And other Myna species occur in much of South-east Asia. Likewise common is not universally accurate, as it is not common everywhere.
-----Original Message-----From: Mark Clayton [ Sent: Monday, 16 April 2012 2:24 PM      To:
Subject: [canberrabirds] Mynas and TV

G’day all,


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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