What is in a name? - Jabiru

To: "Birding-aus \(E-mail\)" <>
Subject: What is in a name? - Jabiru
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2007 15:48:21 +1000
One correspondent (who changed the subject, maybe implying that he feels that 
"whats" is a word) has extended this conversation to the Jabiru. He believes 
that we should use Jabiru, rather than Black-necked Stork. An idea worth 

I agree that in principle, there is no good reason why we should not misapply 
names from South America to Australian birds, after all we have over time, 
already misapplied any number of group names of European birds to Australian 
birds - magpie, robin, chat, etc.

However there are problems with Jabiru. The main one being that it 
unfortunately sounds like it could be an Australian aboriginal word and it 
isn't. So people can get a wrong impression. If it was, that may make it a nice 
name. If we did use Jabiru, it would need a qualifier like "Australian" to 
separate it from the original Jabiru. The word Jabiru doesn't actually imply 
anything, (at least to me) whereas Black-necked Stork is descriptive and 
clearly relates it to storks, so we quickly get an idea of what the creature 
looks like. It seems to me, that for us to call the Black-necked Stork a Jabiru 
would be like people in South America calling their various species of 
opossums, types of kangaroos or potoroos (on the basis that they are also 


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