surprise that ‘Myna Bird’, a form that, curiously, has now come into use in
Australia for the Common Myna. I wouldn't think that curious or in any way
wrong. They are both Mynas and as most people don't know the word Myna to
be a bird, they are called "Myna birds". In Australia we only have one
member of the group, so in general parlance, that term is adequate and
definitive. In that context as a generality 'Myna Bird’ is a perfectly
reasonable name, no less than Magpie, etc. In the USA I expect the Myna
species most familiar there or indeed the only one well known would be the Hill
Myna Gracula religiosa, because as you say it is a species often kept in
North America, as a cage-bird. I think it acceptable to refer to a tree as
a gum or a wattle and be entirely certain that I am correct, when I don't
know the species and indeed the particular species is of no relevance to what I
am communicating. As for journalists getting it wrong, well that is another
whole issue and nothing new there.
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.