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Renaming all North American Birds

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Old Thursday 18th June 2020, 19:53   #76
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Should all Americans named John Smith change their surnames into John Itmanager or whatever?

And if it does not matter, why nobody is named John Mammothhunter?
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Old Thursday 18th June 2020, 22:04   #77
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Another attempt to do the same thing from the Hawaii birdwatching group on facebook

Sigh...

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...WCzcN-TqsF6tjs
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 05:31   #78
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Another attempt to do the same thing from the Hawaii birdwatching group on facebook

Sigh...

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...WCzcN-TqsF6tjs
I'm guessing this is at least partly tongue-in-cheek, as they propose changing Black-headed Gull to Laughing Gull (it would match the Latin name, at least), Iceland Gull to Glaucous Gull (the original Glaucous Gull would become White Gull), and Harris's Sparrow to Black-faced Bunting (no word on what the original Black-faced Bunting would become). Also, all Juncos become Snowbuntings, while the Snow Bunting becomes a Snowspur. And just what would the plural of 155 and 156 on the list be?

Jokes aside, it's actually the *good* names on this list that underscore what a pointless excercise this is from a practical standpoint. Sure, Mountain Plovers are closely related to dotterels, and Shortgrass Dotterel is an excellent, accurate, and descriptive name, but what good does it do to change it? And of course Oystercatchers don't really catch oysters, they crack them, but do we really want to call them Oystercrackers? And Alaskan Stint is much more accurate and informative than Western Sandpiper, and so on...Changing these names might make them more accurate, but it would hinder and not help communication.

I enjoyed going through this list, it's a fun intellectual excercise, and have to admit I found some of the new names to be really cool (Cascadian Swift, and my favorite of all, King Chekua for Pomarine Jaeger/Skua), but as something to be taken seriously, that's another matter...

And just to show how open-ended this constant 'improving' of names can be, doesn't their suggestion of Black-and-blue Warbler for Black-throated Blue advocate violence?
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 07:10   #79
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Originally Posted by Mysticete View Post
Another attempt to do the same thing from the Hawaii birdwatching group on facebook

Sigh...

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...WCzcN-TqsF6tjs
Some interesting ideas: I like the Nahuatl name Solin for the New World 'Quail'

Interesting to see it lumps the Bean Geese as one species, which is likely correct genetically. But also only lumps White-winged, Common and Black Scoters into one species of Scoter?

Others very odd though - why the choice of the Haida name for Harlequin Duck, but the Icelandic name for Barrow's Goldeneye? The two species interestingly have almost identical ranges (both in Iceland, both in Haida Gwaii).

And 'Crested-Tern' is just plain ugly; hyphen totally unnecessary.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 07:21   #80
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I see this expanding, suggestion of the adoption of 'local' names, as liberalist tokenism, this is the'English' language list.

I know there are the occasional exceptions but they are being used as an excuse for the whosesale massacre of the list, this is getting totally out of hand. If all these changes are enacted, it will no longer be an English language list.

Are the same pressures being applied to the Dutch, German, Swedish lists?
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 07:54   #81
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Indeed, I like your train of thought.

Some English names are crap I must admit - Hen Harrier - WFT is that all about? Maybe we could call it Persecuted Harrier?
As others have said, the name derives from a time when they were much commoner and would take domestic chickens, 'Hens'.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 09:01   #82
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... propose changing Black-headed Gull to Laughing Gull (it would match the Latin name, at least) ...
I think it's time I bestow on this thread my favorite thing in bird nomenclature ever. I know I have probably posted it a few times already, but it's just too relevant. In Czech (I have not enough grasp of Latin, but I suspect at least some correlation) we have gull names "shifted by one". Have a look on the following list, in the format of "English translation of Czech name" - English name

"Atlantic Gull" - Laughing Gull
"Laughing Gull" - Black-headed Gull
"Black-headed Gull" - Mediterranean Gull
"Mediterranean Gull" - Yellow-legged Gull
"Yellow-legged Gull" - Lesser Black-backed Gull

If you ever see me addressing a Gull completely nonsensically, refer to this table and try "offset by 1" and see if it suddenly makes sense :)
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 09:03   #83
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From Polish names, we recently run into Zaganiac maly, (Booted Warbler), which is just incredibly funny - but I feel like it has to be funny even in Polish, no?
Yes, zaganiacz is quite a funny sounding word in Polish too. As for Czech, I'm pretty sure you are aware that for Polish speakers Czech language in general - not just bird names - sounds funny
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 09:26   #84
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I would not object to changing antiquated words not used for more than a generation: ferruginous, demoiselle, pomarine, roseate, semipalmated, harlequin, razorbill. In 21. century a razor is shaped like a Gillette tip. And names which are wrong geographically: Caspian Tern, Sandwich Tern, Nashville Warbler, or wrong factually, e.g. Purple Sandpiper. And redundancies, e.g. Yellow-Crowned Night Heron or Great Gray Owl. There is no other yellow-crowned heron, or other owl named Gray or Great.

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Another attempt to do the same thing from the Hawaii birdwatching group on facebook
Only few of the many Native languages are represented. A committee should be formed, and agree a parity together with representatives of Native Americans and Hawaiians. Afterwards the names can be changed. We don't want to offend some minority, do we?

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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 09:48   #85
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I would not object to changing antiquated words not used for more than a generation: ferruginous, demoiselle, pomarine, roseate, semipalmated, harlequin, razorbill. In 21. century a razor is shaped like a Gillette tip. And names which are wrong geographically: Caspian Tern, Sandwich Tern, Nashville Warbler, or wrong factually, e.g. Purple Sandpiper. And redundancies, e.g. Yellow-Crowned Night Heron or Great Gray Owl. There is no other yellow-crowned heron, or other owl named Gray or Great.
Caspian & Sandwich Terns both occur in respectively the Caspian Sea and at Sandwich in Kent, so they're not geographically wrong, just a bit limited in their scope. Dartford Warbler and Kentish Plover used to occur at their respective locations, but no longer do so - should the names be changed, or kept as a memorial to their extinct populations?

Purple Sandpiper does have slight purple iridescence in winter plumage, though it's hard to see. The one that badly needs reversing is 'Cinereous' Vulture (formerly Black Vulture) - whichever idiot renamed it (I think it was Sibley & Monroe) obviously hadn't realised that cinereous means ash-coloured, pale greyish white, completely wrong for Aegypius monachus.


And if you've ever been bitten by a Razorbill, you'll know how it got its name (fortunately I haven't, but have heard about it from people ringing them )
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 10:09   #86
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If you ever see me addressing a Gull completely nonsensically, refer to this table and try "offset by 1" and see if it suddenly makes sense
You mean writing on it upside-down in blue crayon whilst wearing a funny hat, putting the stamp on the bill and trying to post it to Gandhi c/o the North Pole?

Or lecturing it why it needs to go?

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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 10:15   #87
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I would not object to changing antiquated words not used for more than a generation: ferruginous, demoiselle, pomarine, roseate, semipalmated, harlequin, razorbill. In 21. century a razor is shaped like a Gillette tip. And names which are wrong geographically: Caspian Tern, Sandwich Tern, Nashville Warbler, or wrong factually, e.g. Purple Sandpiper. And redundancies, e.g. Yellow-Crowned Night Heron or Great Gray Owl. There is no other yellow-crowned heron, or other owl named Gray or Great.

Only few of the many Native languages are represented. A committee should be formed, and agree a parity together with representatives of Native Americans and Hawaiians. Afterwards the names can be changed. We don't want to offend some minority, do we?
I think you're right. We should change most bird names every 20 years or so to reflect changing word use and range changes.



But I actually think that (and was going to post earlier) a small selection of the 'dodgy' or worst current bird names could be renamed to commemorate famous indigenous people or native names if they are going to have to renamed. People wouldn't have to get their knickers in a twist for something like American Pipit being given a more exciting name. I'm sure there's scope for a Martin-Luther Kingbird somewhere along the line too ...

(Just had a terrible thought but Black-faced Bunting is another that is going to have to go.)
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 10:44   #88
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I am in favor of changing Sandwich Tern, it always makes me hungry, which is not good for my body (only recently it doesn't matter as procuring a sandwich has become daunting due to corona). Martin-Luther Kingbird is gold, I am all for that! Maybe we can already silently assume that all Kingbirds are in his memory? It's like when the Czech people demanded the Charles Bridge in Prague to be renamed after a famous recently deceased signer, who happens to also be named Charles.

Did you know that Odyssey was not written by Homer, but by another blind Greek poet of the same name?
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 10:52   #89
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Are the same pressures being applied to the Dutch, German, Swedish lists?
The Dutch name for White-rumped Swift was changed recently. Look at the scientific name and you may guess why. I was attacked by some for suggesting this name needed changing at first, partly because many Dutch birders were not aware that this name was offensive.
No other name changes are being considered for birds. I don't think that there are any in the Western Palearctic that are problematic from my point of view. Radicals could demand more changes (we have quite a few birdnames ending in "thief" which one could take umbrage with).
There are a few species in other groups (grasshoppers, dragonflies, plants) which have been changed or could do with being changed.

In Germany it was proposed to change the name for Black Lark from the equivalent of "Moor Lark" ("Moor" as in "African", not as in "heath") to "Black Steppe Lark". I don't think this is a particularly offensive name anyway, just old-fashioned, but the change is an improvement. Unfortunately, it was embedded in a large amount of really unnecessary modifications, so I am not sure if this has been picked up yet (not on wikipedia anyway).

I think the English name for the butterfly Orsotriaena medus needs rethinking as well!
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 10:53   #90
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One could try to get BirdLife to rename Coal Tit into Carbon-neutral Tit.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 10:54   #91
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Did you know that Odyssey was not written by Homer, but by another blind Greek poet of the same name?
Interesting. I had always assumed it must have been written by Lisa.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 11:18   #92
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The Dutch name for White-rumped Swift was changed recently. Look at the scientific name and you may guess why. I was attacked by some for suggesting this name needed changing at first, partly because many Dutch birders were not aware that this name was offensive.
No other name changes are being considered for birds. I don't think that there are any in the Western Palearctic that are problematic from my point of view. Radicals could demand more changes (we have quite a few birdnames ending in "thief" which one could take umbrage with).
There are a few species in other groups (grasshoppers, dragonflies, plants) which have been changed or could do with being changed.

In Germany it was proposed to change the name for Black Lark from the equivalent of "Moor Lark" ("Moor" as in "African", not as in "heath") to "Black Steppe Lark". I don't think this is a particularly offensive name anyway, just old-fashioned, but the change is an improvement. Unfortunately, it was embedded in a large amount of really unnecessary modifications, so I am not sure if this has been picked up yet (not on wikipedia anyway).

I think the English name for the butterfly Orsotriaena medus needs rethinking as well!

I was already aware of this species through an old book on the butterflies of Bali, I did a quick Google and the common name is no longer applied in any of the subsequent results.

For anyone curious, the common name was simply 'N*****'

Back to bird names, why does the 'English' list, simply not apply a translation of any indiginous name instead of going the whole hog and using the native language, the Germans do it to a large extent I'm told.

If the trend for using foreign words continues unabated, using what has been until now a relatively small number of existing names as a justification, the use of the word 'English' in the list of World bird species, would seem to me, to be no longer accurate.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 11:30   #93
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As someone who’s still using fan-tailed warbler, there’s no hope,is there ? I’m suspicious that all this is being instigated by some publishers who are desperate to sell all of us a whole raft of new field guides with the new names.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 11:32   #94
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As someone who’s still using fan-tailed warbler, there’s no hope,is there ? I’m suspicious that all this is being instigated by some publishers who are desperate to sell all of us a whole raft of new field guides with the new names.
You're not alone in this, it's an opinion which has been expressed in the past.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 11:37   #95
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If the trend for using foreign words continues unabated, using what has been until now a relatively small number of existing names as a justification, the use of the word 'English' in the list of World bird species, would seem to me, to be no longer accurate.
Not forgetting that the English language has absorbed and appropriated most (all?) of its words from elsewhere.

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As someone who’s still using fan-tailed warbler, there’s no hope,is there ?
+1 for Fan-tailed Warbler! I'd resisted posting on that one so far.

I think there's a balance between things that need to be changed (not many), and unnecessary changes. I still want to use Dabchick sometimes.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 12:00   #96
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I was already aware of this species through an old book on the butterflies of Bali, I did a quick Google and the common name is no longer applied in any of the subsequent results.
I found plenty of results throughout SE Asia, but maybe google is blocking them in English-speaking countries.
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 12:26   #97
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One could try to get BirdLife to rename Coal Tit into Carbon-neutral Tit.



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As someone who’s still using fan-tailed warbler,
Zit-tailed Fanticola? Fan-tailed Zitticola? ��
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 12:27   #98
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One could try to get BirdLife to rename Coal Tit into Carbon-neutral Tit.
Peanut-hoarding Tit?
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 12:35   #99
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As a fun exercise it's entertaining, but I can't tell how much of this is meant to be serious and how much of this is just people having a laugh. Certainly the getting rid of patronyms seems to be a serious intent by folks
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Old Friday 19th June 2020, 12:37   #100
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I would not object to changing antiquated words not used for more than a generation: ferruginous, demoiselle, pomarine, roseate, semipalmated, harlequin, razorbill. In 21. century a razor is shaped like a Gillette tip. And names which are wrong geographically: Caspian Tern, Sandwich Tern, Nashville Warbler, or wrong factually, e.g. Purple Sandpiper. And redundancies, e.g. Yellow-Crowned Night Heron or Great Gray Owl. There is no other yellow-crowned heron, or other owl named Gray or Great.
I like a lot of these names, as they are unique and memorable.

Also, I doubt anyone my age or younger would consider Harlequin obscure nowadays, thanks to DC comics.
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