To: "Cas and Lisa Liber" <>, "'Birding-aus'" <>
Subject: Thickknees/UQ
From: "Greg" <>
Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2007 11:12:38 +1000
Hi Cas,

The use of common names for birds is more widespread as they are so obvious and are more popular subjects of observation than say, reptiles. People, even scientists, don't usually say I have just observed a Corvus orru, they would say a Torresian Crow, however herpetologists often say I have seen a Lampropholis delicata (Garden Sun-skink). Because common names are the main names used for birds there is a need for consistency and this has been provided in Australia by the Birds Australia Common Names Committee and is published in Christidis and Boles 1994, soon to be revised.

I would strongly argue that we should all adopt these common names even if we don't particularly like them, unless a very strong argument can be mounted that they are totally inappropriate.

Common names for mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish are now becoming more popular and consistency is also needed here.

Re. 'Thick-knee' - I would like to know if the 'knee' in the common names refers to the joint between the tarsus and tibia as this is equivalent to an ankle in humans or whether it refers to the joint higher up and hidden by the body/feathers of the bird, more correctly considered equivalent to a knee.

Nankeen definitely refers to the rufous colouration of the upperparts of the heron and kestrel and not the underparts.

Greg Clancy

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