Re: Blackface

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: Re: Blackface
From: John Leonard <>
Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2005 12:03:15 +1000
I agree with David, I don't think you can direct how people refer to birds.

The relatively simple and unambiguous suite of  bird-names in Britain derives from 1. the relatively small number of birds species to begin with, 2. a long process of a single English name being standardised in the literature (in many cases dating back to the C19), 3. the recent explosion of interest in bird-watching taking these standardised official names out to all the new bird-watchers.

Australia has a larger number of species, a more recent history of standardisation of names (which some would say hasn't been completed), and a smaller number of birdwatchers.

On the other hand some English names are very poor: for example the Black-faced Wood-swallow has a mask, and the Masked Wood-swallow has a black face!

John Leonard

On 6/30/05, <m("","David.Geering");"> > wrote:

I'm not sure how much the public are put off by names such as Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike.  There are a myriad of common names already in common usage out there (Blue Jay immediately comes to mind).  The bottom line is that it doesn't matter what you call a bird as long as the person you are talking to knows what you are talking about ( eg Jabiru vs Black-necked Stork)

I see no good reason to "dumb it down".  I've had quite a lot of experience taking out groups of novice or even non-birdwatchers and I can't say that pointing out a Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike ever had any of them running away in horror.

I think we have it reasonable easy here.  There are some common names in usage overseas that would really test the novice.


David Geering
Regent Honeyeater Recovery Coordinator
Department of Environment & Conservation
P.O. Box 2111
Dubbo  NSW  2830
Ph: 02 6883 5335 or Freecall 1800 621 056
Fax: 02 6884 9382

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John Leonard
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