Crested Shrike-tit

To: 'Alison' <>, "" <>
Subject: Crested Shrike-tit
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2018 11:12:45 +0000

That “latest Field Guide to the Birds of the ACT“ certainly has usefulness as a local field guide but it has so many errors that it sure isn’t a book that I would quote as a reference, Actually I assume you are referring to the Taylor & Day book of which I only know the original one. I did not detect any corrections made in the later edition. HANZAB and most other recent books list it as one species Crested Shrike-tit. I suspect that if HANZAB treated it as 3 species then it would describe one and for the next 2 simply have “nothing to add”. Neil Hermes’ new 2017 book (that goes into more than the usual detail of names and fairly describes the history, comes up with Crested Shriketit as the name, and gives the other names as alternatives (with the curious deletion of the hyphen, as with several others in that book). I was commenting largely on the idea that it is “soon to be ‘Eastern Shrike-tit’”, which would appear to be a reversion to an earlier name, rather than a new name, which may be why Mark “ has been calling them Eastern, Northern and Western Shrike-tits for years”. But that designation really only makes sense under a splitter mentality to reclassify isolated and slightly different races into separate species.




From: Alison [
Sent: Friday, 20 July, 2018 7:44 PM
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Crested Shrike-tit


Thanks Philip,


However, the latest Field Guide to the Birds of the ACT , published in 2013, already lists this as the Eastern Shrike-tit.




From: Philip Veerman [
Sent: Friday, 20 July 2018 2:07 PM
Subject: [canberrabirds] Crested Shrike-tit


Well since you ask everyone. Names are important but they are just labels. What matters is whether we understand the intent. Shrike-tit is one of those many annoying group names for something that is not a shrike nor a tit. But in our context that is what we call them. It is better than a translation of the genus name “Little Falcon”. The name doesn’t need any more than that, as there is nothing else called Shrike-tit. For whatever reason, the “Crested” was added and it is a good obvious feature, although an unnecessary extra word and nicer than uninspiring geographic descriptors. Curious to note that Cayley’s book (1932) used Eastern, Northern and Western Shrike-tits as though they should be regarded as different species. Although I had long since forgotten that. I wonder is there any basis to go back to regarding them as separate species again. The differences are trivial and they are geographically isolated. To me they should be the same species and I doubt that their behaviour differs in terms of how they react to a reflection.


I for one have never had any need for these names. It was 1981 when I was last in the range of a Northern Shrike-tit and I never have and likely never will be in the range of Western Shrike-tits.


In our area Crested Shrike-tit = Shrike-tit = Eastern Shrike-tit.  Although if anyone uses the latter, it won’t be instantly obvious.




From: Mark Clayton Sent: Friday, 20 July, 2018 9:37 AM  To:
Subject: Re: FW: [canberrabirds] Re: Spotted Pardalote attacking window


What has taken everyone so long, I have been calling them Eastern, Northern and Western Shrike-tits for years?!



On 20/07/2018 9:20 AM, Geoffrey Dabb wrote:

Excellent capture, Lindell.  (Soon to be ‘Eastern Shrike-tit’.)


From: Lindell Sent: Thursday, 19 July 2018 8:44 PM        To: Paul Taylor           Cc: Canberra Birds
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Re: Spotted Pardalote attacking window


Looks like the Crested Shrike-tit can be added to the list. This female was admiring (not attacking) herself in the window of my car last time I was at Diddam's Close to admire her!



Mawson ACT


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