Re: re white noddies

To: David James <>
Subject: Re: re white noddies
From: Julian Bielewicz <>
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 06:51:54 +1000

>I have no problem with White Tern as a name but it is technically a noddy.

Sure, but the "authorities", those industrious little taxonomists et al,
have decreed that Gygis alba is to have the English (common) name of White
Tern.  We could all live with "other" names for birds we have known since
BCB (before Christidis & Boles).  I still encounter birders who simply
refuse to accept that a gerygone is anything but a warbler or that a Jackie
Winter is anything other than a Brown Flycatcher.  And there have been some
positively rude comments about Pacific Baza!

The point is surely that unless we accept a standard nomenclature- and I
would argue that the RAOU/Birds Australia benchmark (a la C&B) makes the
only sensible standard for Australian birders- we will rapidly revert to the
bad old days when almost every birder and his/her bins had a different
common name for the same bird.  You surely wouldn't advocate a revision to
one man's (person's) Jacky Winter being another's Peter Peter or yet
another's Postboy, Postsitter, Spinks, Stumpbird, etc, ad nauseum.  Great
for wet and windy evenings when even the owls are staying home or you need
to study a little avian folklore but hardly condusive to consistent birding.

Given the nomenclature standards set by BA, I was merely pointing out that
White Noddy was as inconsistent as Fairy Tern.


Julian Bielewicz
Past President
Queensland Ornithological Society

12 Florence Street
Kippa-Ring, Q. 4021

Tel:    +61 7 3283 4921
Fax:    +61 7 3889 4272

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