[OB] To all users of my website worldbirdinfo

To: "John Penhallurick" <>
Subject: [OB] To all users of my website worldbirdinfo
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2012 10:53:36 +1000
Dear John,

Your efforts have provided a very valuable resource, I am sure many people 
access it even if they don't acknowledge it. Personally I am generally too busy 
even to read emails that are not work or shorebird related.

You have gone to great lengths to provide several taxonomic lists but I am not 
sure who uses which of those you provide. Presumably everyone has their own pet 
list, which to some extent defeats the purpose of trying to standardise the 
order and use of names. Taxonomy is being continuously reviewed and hard to 
keep up with. Peters, Sibley-Munroe and Gill (1995) are all out of date 
according to others who switch between giving birds new names and reverting to 
original descriptions/Latin names.

One worthwhile effort is to tidy up common names that can be utterly confusing. 
Recently Gill and Wright edited an update on behalf of the International 
Ornithological Congress (IOC Beijing) a great deal of effort went into 
standardise English bird names: 
Birds of the World:
Recommended English Names
Frank Gill & Minturn Wright on behalf of the International Ornithological 

One name I see extensively misused, I think mostly by North Americans (although 
Wetlands International have also taken it up) is Far Eastern Curlew instead of 
Eastern Curlew. Just one example. BirdLife International need to follow the IOC 
recommended lists, and so should be all.
It would be good to see a similar move for scientific names. In the mean time 
one could use the latin names used by Gill and Minturn (above) but I will steer 
clear of such a suggestion. Bird classification may never be agreed on while we 
have taxonomists!

John, at least you got me to respond, even if it is not what you need.


Vice Chairman, Australasian Wader Studies Group

Phil Straw
Consultant Avian and Wetlands Ecologist
Avifauna Research & Services Pty Ltd
P.O. Box 2006 Rockdale
NSW 2216, Australia

Tel: +61 (0)2 9597 7765, 61 2 9567 9743
Mob: +61 (0)411 249 075

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail

On 20/08/2012, at 10:42 PM, John Penhallurick wrote:

> I am disappointed that no users have contacted me with their views about my
> website. If you know how much work it is, you should not take it for
> granted.
> One question I would lke to find out your responses to is whether you think
> having 3 family lists, and now in the process of adding a fourth, is worth
> while? Or would you rather than once I update the website to the sequence
> outlined in the Science 2008 family List, I should dump the other three. The
> use of three family lists goes back almost 30 years, to my first
> effort,worldbirdplus, which offered users the choice of the three family
> lists. It never got off the ground, the idea being stolen by a number of
> American birders. But no more of that. Of late, I have noticed that the
> Peters list is getting harder to maintain. There have been so many generic
> changes that just to keep the genera conssitent, reqires a lot of work.
> Does anyone care about these lists? If not, I propose to to concentrate on
> the updating of the list the single family list based on recent
> publications. You can see the nature of the new family list by going to my
> website and clicking on Science 2008 list. This will mean that in the
> interim, you will see inconsistencies in the genera of the three existing
> family lists.
> Please get back to me if you have any views on the matter.
> Thanks,
> Dr John Penhallurick
> 86 Bingley Cres
> Fraser A.C.T. 2615
> Australia
> email:
> Phone: Home (612) 62585428
> Mobile:0408585426
> sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt Aeneid Book 1,line 462 "The
> world is a world of tears, and the burdens of mortality touch the heart."
> Magna est veritas et praevalet Vulgate, Book of Edras
> The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people
> whatever they need to have done, but can not do at all, or can not so well
> do, for themselves-in their separate, and individual capacities. Abraham
> Lincoln
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