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Avian misnomers (1 Viewer)

Nightjar61

David Daniels
United States
West Indian Whistling Duck. The name is misleading, suggesting the bird is from western India. Contrast that with West Mexican Chachalaca, which rightly indicates that the bird is found in western Mexico. A more accurate name might be West Indies Whistling Duck.

Dave
 
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Xenospiza

Distracted
Supporter
Some more birds with overly long names.

Great Northern Diver - as opposed to what? "Common Loon" may not be a suitable name in the UK, but it fits its status in North America. There are plenty of examples where it is the other way around! (I'm hazarding a guess that calling it "American Loon" would persuade some Brits to switch).
Great Spotted Cuckoo - as opposed to what? It's a great bird and it's spotted, so not a complete misnomer.
Grey Hypocolius - there is no other Hypocolius
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
They do impalement, anyway: not so far off the mark....
Yeah, but if people now want to remove bird names inspired by obscure figures from US history, I think it's only fair to request that maybe there shouldn't be species named after the likes of Tamerlane. Since the whole theme seems to be "don't name species after mass murderers and slavers"...

Speaking of unfortunate choices made by US taxonomers in past decades, one item that I haven't seen mentioned yet is fan favourite "Cinereous" Vulture.


Saxony isn't a monarchy any more, so presumably the bird of paradise belongs to Angela Merkel?
The President is head of state in Germany, not the Chancellor. So it'd have to be named after Steinmeier. But on a more serious note, I think the former royalty of Saxony etc. is still around somewhere, they just don't serve any official function anymore.
 

david kelly

Drive-by Birder
Scotland
Some more birds with overly long names.

Great Northern Diver - as opposed to what? "Common Loon" may not be a suitable name in the UK, but it fits its status in North America. There are plenty of examples where it is the other way around! (I'm hazarding a guess that calling it "American Loon" would persuade some Brits to switch).
Great Spotted Cuckoo - as opposed to what? It's a great bird and it's spotted, so not a complete misnomer.
Grey Hypocolius - there is no other Hypocolius
Ah but loon! You do know that could be construed as offensive because it is an insult towards people with mental health problems. Whereas diver is just an derogatory term for centre forwards with a penchant for amateur dramatics.

David
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Some more birds with overly long names.

Great Northern Diver - as opposed to what? "Common Loon" may not be a suitable name in the UK, but it fits its status in North America. There are plenty of examples where it is the other way around! (I'm hazarding a guess that calling it "American Loon" would persuade some Brits to switch).
Great Spotted Cuckoo - as opposed to what? It's a great bird and it's spotted, so not a complete misnomer.
Grey Hypocolius - there is no other Hypocolius
Great Black-backed Gull is longer.... if it ain't broke don't fix it. Great Northern has background in English children's literature that was among the first books to raise awareness or promote the idea that egging was wrong: Arthur Ransome's "Great Northern". Leave it alone.

John
 

Xenospiza

Distracted
Supporter
Great Black-backed Gull is longer.... if it ain't broke don't fix it.
And yet we were robbed of "Great Black-headed Gull", allegedly because it is not closely related to Black-headed Gull.

Great, Middle & Lesser Spotted Woodpecker aren't particularly closely related either, but these were left alone thusfar.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
And yet we were robbed of "Great Black-headed Gull", allegedly because it is not closely related to Black-headed Gull.

Great, Middle & Lesser Spotted Woodpecker aren't particularly closely related either, but these were left alone thusfar.
I also prefer the descriptive Great Black-headed Gull, and who cares about the relationships anyway, Black-headed Gull doesn't even have a black head.... almost where we came in? :ROFLMAO:

John
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
Complaining about GBBG being a long name shows you don't do insects. A few days ago I was told that what a saw is a Giant Sabre Comb Horn Cranefly. Now that's a mouthful.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Ah but loon! You do know that could be construed as offensive because it is an insult towards people with mental health problems. Whereas diver is just an derogatory term for centre forwards with a penchant for amateur dramatics.

David
IIRC, Loon for bird predates the usage of loon for a person with mental health issues. If you change it for that reason, well...what about cuckoo?
 

Richard Prior

Halfway up an Alp
Europe
Complaining about GBBG being a long name shows you don't do insects. A few days ago I was told that what a saw is a Giant Sabre Comb Horn Cranefly. Now that's a mouthful.
True, but delicious with a green salad and a glass of Chablis(y)

Woodlark is perhaps another one that is a bit off - with the habitat choice it has around Geneva it should called Vineyard Lark!
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Woodlark is perhaps another one that is a bit off - with the habitat choice it has around Geneva it should called Vineyard Lark!
That partly exemplifies what is ridiculous about too much worrying about bird names being a bit off, unless they are well off.

Woodlarks only occur around here (thinly) in stubble fields and the like in winter - they should be renamed Stubble Lark ... or Muddy Field Lark? Or where they do actually breed in the UK, Heath Lark, or even Young Conifer Plantation Lark?
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Czech Republic
In most of central Europe, woodlark is a clearly forest species, so that's a bit of an artificial problem I am afraid. I am now at the Baltic coast of Poland and if I enter any kind of forest that's not purely confierous here in the morning, the songs of woodlarks are basically drowning out everything else.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
IIRC, Loon for bird predates the usage of loon for a person with mental health issues. If you change it for that reason, well...what about cuckoo?
Nothing to do with 'lunacy'.......from Wiki

'The European Anglophone name "diver" comes from the bird's habit of catching fish by swimming calmly along the surface and then abruptly plunging into the water. The North American name "loon" likely comes from either the Old English word lumme, meaning lummox or awkward person, or the Scandinavian word lum meaning lame or clumsy. Either way, the name refers to the loon's poor ability to walk on land.[15]'
 

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