Are Australian bird names a colonial hangover?

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Are Australian bird names a colonial hangover?
From: L&L Knight <>
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 2009 17:03:34 +1000
There seem to be relatively few groups of birds that predominantly occur in Australia that don't have names based on unrelated English analogues - robins, quail-thrush, shrike-thrush, wrens etc. Some of the exceptions would probably be honeyeaters, butcherbirds, currawongs.

How many species in Australia are named after non-English analogues? That is, named after species that don't occur in England. Cockatiel is probably one.

I think that the official common names reflect that fact that the people who named them in the nineteenth century were either English or English colonials. In contrast, the English names of the bird species in Peru are rarely based on European analogues. Like honeyaters, names actually describe the group of birds rather than comparing them to analogues.

The Brush Turkey is a classic example of English mislabelling. Not only is it totally unrelated to European Turkeys, it's name is disconnected from the other megapodes. If it were correctly labelled, it would be some sort of Bushfowl (in line with Scrubfowl and Malleefowl).

Regards, Laurie.

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