Paul described very well what I only briefly discussed in my email of a few
minutes ago. I had not seen Paul's email till after I sent mine.
I believe consistency is very important. We birding-aussers would all
benefit from finding agreement on how we present names in our data in the
same way. I suggest it would be worth the effort for birding-aussers to
discuss and come to an agreement on the best way to present this data.
The scientific way is ideal, but because there is some variation among
professionals in presentation of common names, a criteria could be set up
within birding-aus that could satisfy the need for consistency.
(sometimes I put my name in full - which is inconsistent! What can I
> From: Paul Taylor <>
> To: Birding-Aus <>
> Subject: Re: birding-aus bird-Names
> Date: Thursday, 29 July 1999 18:24
> Trevor Ford wrote:
> > I'm surprised nobody has commented on the clumsy way that capitalised
> > are now hyphenated (or not!) Opening my Christidis and Boles at random
> > (believe me?) I see Night Heron, Sea-Eagle and Button-quail.
> There was some discussion of this topic around this time last year in
> regard to the name changes introduced by the current RAOU Recommended
> English Names.
> Ideally the common names would have a consistent form, and follow a
> defined rule set. For example, this could be a naming system:
> * Common names have two parts: a "given name" and a "surname".
> * "Surnames" describe the type of bird (e.g. Albatross, Gull, Swallow)
> * "Given names" distinguish between birds sharing "surnames" (e.g. Shy
> Royal, Yellow-bellied)
> * For each of the two parts ("given names" and "surnames"), the
> first letter is always capitalised; all other letters are lowercase.
> * For each of the two parts, a hyphen may be used (e.g. White-browed,
> Night-heron, Sea-eagle.)
> Using this system, you would have names like "Nankeen Night-heron",
> "White-bellied Sea-eagle", "Black-breasted Button-quail" which are
> both consistent and logical. ("Nankeen Night-Heron", "White-bellied
> Sea-Eagle" and "Black-breasted Button-Quail" is another sensible
> naming system.) Unfortunately, trouble sets in when you consider
> names like "Light-mantled Sooty Albatross" and "Lesser Sooty Owl".
> It shouldn't be difficult to expand the rule set to handle these,
> provided that the rule set is simple, unambiguous, logical and
> consistent. This in itself isn't difficult; the hard part is
> generating names that are also aesthetically pleasing
> ("Black-Breasted Button-Quail" etc., while logical and consistent,
> would fail the aesthetic test, IMHO.)
> As to "Red Kangaroo" vs. "red kangaroo", "Red Kangaroo" should be
> the name used, particularly when female Red Kangaroos are not red
> and often referred to as "blue fliers" (or should that be "Blue
> Paul Taylor Veni, vidi, tici -
> I came, I saw, I ticked.
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