Subject: Thickknees/UQ
From: "Peter Ewin" <>
Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2007 21:12:45 +1000
I assume that the name change was proposed to match with what had been the traditional name for the European species (B. oedicnemus). However, looking up both the Howard and Moore (H&M) Checklist of the birds of the World and Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW3), this species is called the Stone Curlew. The species listed as Thick-Knees in the former of these references (the more recent list) are:
Senegal Thick-knee (Burhinus senegalensis)
Double-striped Thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus)
Peruvian Thick-knee (Burhinus superciliaris)
The three others listed below (including the 2 Australian species) are again Stone Curlews (though these are all Thick -knees in HBW3). Note H&M has a very different approach to the use of dashes in common names.
Two other species of African distribution are respectively called:
Water Dikkop (B. vermiculatus)
Spotted Dikkop (B. capensis)
The South Africans know how to allocate a great name.

From: L&L Knight <>
To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Thickknees/UQ
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2007 20:00:54 +1000

G'day Greg,

You will find that the Bible, in the form of Shorebirds, refers to the birds in question as Bush Thick-knees, as I suspect, does the The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. If you have a look at that there are a group of other species that also rejoice in the moniker of Thick-knee - the:
Senegal Thick-knee (Burhinus senegalensis) Range: central Africa
Double-striped Thick-knee (Burhinus bistriatus) Range: C America, Northern S America, Caribbean
Peruvian Thick-knee (Burhinus superciliaris) Range: coastal Peru, S America
Great Thick-knee Esacus (Burhinus recurvirostris) Range: India, Malaysia
Beach Thick-knee Esacus (Burhinus magnirostris) Range: from southern Malaysia through Australia.

You have to admit that the group in birds look nothing like curlews, and I don't think they have any special affinity for stones, so I don't know why they should be saddled with the name Stone-Curlew. If they weren't part of an international complex, I would have thought the name weeloo would have been more appropriate.

As for the night heron, I would think that rufous is more descriptive than nankeen.

Regards, Laurie.

On Friday, April 6, 2007, at 04:53  PM, Greg wrote:

'Stone-curlew' is the 'official' common name ending for both species in Christidis and Boles 1994. 'Rufous Night Heron is 'officially' Nankeen Night Heron.

It is interesting that so many people have picked up on 'Thick-knee' and 'Rufous Night Heron' as they were only ever proposed official names as far as I am aware. Usually people fight for decades against the new names.

I don't mind 'Rufous Night Heron' as it is more accurate but it was rejected as people considered that 'Nankeen' had a more interesting ring to it. Nankeen used to refer to a rufous colour but now refers to a yellow colour. The Nankeen Kestrel was proposed to be called the Australian Kestrel and this has stuck with some people too despite it being retained as Nankeen Kestrel. I think that the problem arose because a field guide was published at the time that these names were being bandied about.

Anyway that is my understanding of what happened. Brain's trust please correct me if I am wrong?

Greg Clancy

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