Re: Subject: [Birding-Aus] Re 'Jabiru'

To: Greg Little <>
Subject: Re: Subject: [Birding-Aus] Re 'Jabiru'
From: Chris Sanderson <>
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 2009 19:45:18 +1100
Not sure this is strictly true Greg.  Willie Wagtails would barely be a
mouthful, but I know at least one big creation myth features Willie Wagtails
(the trickster I think) centrally.  I would struggle to believe they didn't
have names for anything they couldn't use, naming things is just something
humans do.  Perhaps the fault lies with the anthropologists for not
recording the names or asking the right questions?  And for those mentioning
different languages in Australian indiginous peoples, there are in fact over
400 language groups, but many of these are now lost completely.  I believe
there are only 3 indiginous languages still spoken fluently so perhaps the
choice is being made for us?


On Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 7:11 PM, Greg Little <> wrote:

> Mark
> Good call, but from my understanding of Aboriginal names they named
> things that they could eat or use or that otherwise affected their lives
> and ignored the rest. So we would still be stuck with names for the
> others.
> Greg Little
> Greg Little - Principal Consultant
> General Flora and Fauna
> PO Box 526
> Wallsend, NSW, 2287, Australia
> Ph    02 49 556609
> Fx    02 49 556671
> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
>   On Behalf Of Mark Carter
> Sent: Tuesday, 24 November 2009 1:55 PM
> To: 
> Subject: Subject: [Birding-Aus] Re 'Jabiru'
> I agree with Philip Veerman's post- the confusing 'Jabiru' is just the
> tip of the iceberg when it comes to Australian bird common names. I
> think settlers did Australian birds a great diservice when they set
> about naming them after the vaguely similar species of elsewhere but it
> was understandible. What I don't understand is the way 21st century
> ornithology persists with these clumsy confusing labels. A Red-capped
> Robin is not a robin in much the same way than a Koala bear is not a
> bear. Mammologists have gotten over this dodgy inheritance years ago-
> native cats are now almost universally renamed quolls, marsupial mice
> are now dunnarts (or antichinus or psuedo antichinus or...) and
> porcupines are now echidnas.
> Australian birds such as shrike-thrushes, woodswallows, wrens, chats,
> magpies, babblers and treecreepers are intrinsically awesome and don't
> deserve to be encumbered by these clumsy, 2nd hand, confusing and often
> dreadful misnomers (shrike-thrush particularly makes me cringe). These
> is a vast and rich source of authentic names in the many Aboriginal
> languages of our continent- is it outragous to suggest we consider this?
> Mark Carter
> Alice Springs
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2009 23:15:24 +1100
> From: "Philip Veerman" <>
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Re 'Jabiru'
> To: "'Tony Russell'" <>
> Cc: "Birding-aus \(E-mail\)" <>
> Message-ID: <>
> Content-Type: text/plain;    charset="us-ascii"
> Surely their proper name is the Australian Black Satin-necked non-jabiru
> Stork. (joke)
> Why doesn't some book author take the initiative to rename some bird
> groups to simpler things, like rename the Cuckoo-shrikes as Cush e.g.
> "Black-faced Cush" and likewise invent other new names, so we can
> dispense with all those silly names like "Cuckoo-shrike" (not a joke).
> After all, names are just labels, why not have distinctive ones that
> don't give wrong impressions.
> Philip Veerman
> 24 Castley Circuit
> Kambah  ACT  2902
> 02 - 62314041
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