New Zealand Morepork Ninox novaehollandiae ?

To: "Michael Tarburton" <>, "Carl Clifford" <>
Subject: New Zealand Morepork Ninox novaehollandiae ?
From: "Bill Stent" <>
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008 09:25:19 +1100
I know I'm going to sound pompous here, but how can you confuse the
calls of the Boobook ("boo-book") and the Tawny Frogmouth


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Michael
Sent: Tuesday, 29 January 2008 9:14 AM
To: Carl Clifford
Cc: Birding-Aus Aus
Subject: New Zealand Morepork Ninox novaehollandiae ?

G'day Carl & Birding Aus Contributors

The name Ninox novaehollandiae goes back a long way, to Gmelin in fact
in 1788 when he named the Boobook.  It was used by Buller in
1888 in his Birds of New Zealand where he states
        "... ranges to New Guinea, Australia and  Norfolk and Lord Howe
Islands.  There are various subspecies in
         Australia where it is known as the Boobook Owl and occasionally
also as 'Mopoke', although the latter
         name is often applied through confusion of the birds' calls to
another nocturnal species, the Tawny

That name has continued to be used for the NZ birds. (fide Readers
Digest Complete Book of New Zealand Birds1985, and Falla Sibson &
Turbott (1979) The New Guide to the Birds of New Zealand).

The rest of the world has tended to call the bird Ninox novaeseelandiae
(fide Howard & Moore 1980) for a long time.  Even my old Caley 1959
edition uses novae-zeelandiae.

Scientific names are not as stable or as consistent as some would have
you believe.  The Gulls in NZ and Aus is another confused case and if
you want to see more look at the file called Alternative bird names at

List are just lists and names are just names reflecting individuals
knowledge and biases, none are the ultimate truth.

Have fun


Michael Tarburton


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