I did find in two large parks in Tokyo though that some Japanese birders knew
Mandarin Duck, and Baikal Teal in English and tried to help us find them
through signs and escorting us or pointing on a map. Pictures or a photo in
camera even were a big help!
On 14/04/2013, at 2:07 PM, John Wright wrote:
> Hi all:
> As for Japanese birders, they normally use the Japanese common names....for
> birds occurring in Japan, these are descriptive names but often are similar
> to English common names when literally translated. For birds not occurring
> in Japan, they usually use as close a literal translation as they can
> convert the English common name (or scientific name) into. As for
> capitalization, as there is no capitalization per se in the Japanese
> language, it is a moot point. But most texts that write the Japanese common
> name in "romaji" (romanized script) have either only the first word in the
> name capitalized or there is no capitalization at all. Additionally, the
> words in the "romanji" names are usually joined by hyphens, so there is no
> second or third word to capitalize...
> Interestingly, though, Japanese use a script called "katakana" for writing
> the proper names of animals and plants (many common species also have a
> corresponding Chinese character ("kanji"), though most Japanese don't know
> these and cannot write or read them). So in a sense, this use of katakana
> could be considered to correspond to the use of capitalization in English.
> Most Japanese birders have little or no knowledge of English common names,
> nor do they have much knowledge of the scientific names. This makes taking
> a checklist that contains translations of the English common name into the
> Japanese common name (and vice-versa!) on any Japanese birding trip a good
> idea if you want to get local knowledge on what has been seen where!
> On Sun, Apr 14, 2013 at 12:10 PM, Falk Wicker
>> Hi all,
>> As far as German bird names go - I think all of them are capitalised and
>> very often form only one word, e.g. Affenente (literally "Monkey Duck") for
>> Freckled Duck. This is the more "classic" approach in German but this has
>> changed over time which means that for some species exactly the same rules
>> apply for in both English and German. Lesser Yellowlegs (Kleiner
>> Gelbschenkel) is a good example.
>> I'm definitely all for following the IOC's (capitalising) rules.
>> Dave and Bob,
>> Many if not all German birders I know will use the English bird names when
>> travelling overseas or coming across unfamiliar species - for a couple of
>> First of all it's much easier to communicate with other foreign birders.
>> Also, most of the publishing is done in English, including site and field
>> guides. It would be rather useless to study all of the names in German as
>> well, unless you have a keen interest (like me).
>> Interested discussion anyway. Would love to hear what other fellow
>> foreigners have to say.
>> On Apr 14, 2013 12:26 PM, "Dave Torr" <> wrote:
>>> I think most languages have their own names for at least the local birds
>>> so English name is perfectly accurate in Aus (and UK, USA etc) whereas
>>> common name for House Sparrow in French is "Moineau domestique" (see
>>> Interesting that the "domestique" (=House) is not capitalised....
>>> On 14 April 2013 11:57, Robert Inglis <> wrote:
>>>> In the name of pedanticism............
>>>> There must be a better label than “English names”. Personally, I prefer
>>>> “common names”.
>>>> Or should we only capitalise/capitalize the English versions of bird
>>>> common names?
>>>> It would seem that some non-English speaking (as a ‘first’ language)
>>>> birdwatchers also capitalise bird common names. For example my copy of
>>>> “Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa” lists common names in a number of
>>>> languages and they all capitalise the names. That is, to maintain the
>>>> pedantic theme, except for the Zulu names which all start with one, two
>>>> three lowercase letters immediately followed by what looks like the
>>>> name headed by an uppercase letter. I don’t speak or understand “Zulu”
>>>> barely understand English these days and that is certainly often the
>>>> when it is written) so I can’t comment on that form of spelling and
>>>> Of course, that version of that field guide was published in 1984,
>>>> “texting” and “SMS” so it also has punctuation and the text uses
>>>> Do, for example, German, Japanese, Spanish (but to name a few)
>>>> birdwatchers refer to “English names in their everyday birding
>>>> Just to make it clear, I always capitalise (but rarely capitalize) bird
>>>> Common Names.
>>>> Bob Inglis
>>>> Sandstone Point
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