Ornithological Hansonism ?

To: Birding-Aus Aus <>
Subject: Ornithological Hansonism ?
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2010 13:19:32 +1100
Dear All,

I am amazed by the constant outbreaks of ornithological Hansonism that pops up in B-Aus when it comes to bird names. The International
Ornithological Union (IOU) is an international body of prominent
professional ornithologists ( some 200) who, among many other things, arbitrate on the common names of birds. The membership of the IOU can be seen at Among the members of the IOU are Dr. Richard Schodde and Dr. Walter Boles, both of who seem to know a thing or two about birds.

The publication "Birds of the World : Recommended English Names" by
Gill & Wright is published on behalf of the IOU and is "a volunteer
project with worldwide participation by birders and professional
ornithologists". The goal of this publication is "to facilitate
worldwide communication in ornithology and conservation through the
consistent use of English names linked to current species taxonomy.
The English names  follow explicit guidelines for spelling and
construction that increase clarity of application", so it it is not an ivory tower publicaton, but a collaboration between amateur and professional ornithologists. On those grounds I think it is reasonable to regard BOTW as the standard list of common English language names
world wide. If anyone can come up with a rational argument as to why
this should not be so, I would be very interested in hearing it.

As for Scientific names and species status, the Index of Organism
Names (ION), see  , which ION contains
the organism names related data gathered from the scientific
literature for Thomson Reuters' Zoological Record® database. Viruses, bacteria and plant names will be added from other Thomson Reuters
databases such as BIOSIS Previews® and Biological Abstracts® " is the
repository for all currently accepted species of everything. If it
lives and has been named, it is in ION.

There is a well established mechanism for the common names of birds
and whether a species is a species, so why not stick to it, as it
seems to work well.

All we need to do now is to try and get a single Avian taxonomy up and accepted, but I don't think any of us will see that in our lifetimes.


Carl Clifford

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