Ornithological Hansonism ?

To: Ian May <>
Subject: Ornithological Hansonism ?
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2010 16:06:15 +1100
Why not Linnaeus?

On 31/10/2010, at 4:01 PM, Ian May wrote:

"So You Think" the arguments of lumpers and splitters might be solved by appointing a panel of international experts. Such as those PBs who turned our Stone Curlew into a "Thicknee"?

I might stick to Cayley's thanks.


Carl Clifford wrote:

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
Carl Clifford
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