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HBW and BirdLife Taxonomic Checklist v4 (1 Viewer)

DMW

Well-known member
I think most of us are aware that many long-established "English" bird names are derived from other languages, but adopting the name "Chilappan" seems really quite needlessly confusing. These are laughingthrushes, and it's really quite beyond me why it is useful to discard that name and adopt a name that is utterly meaningless to non-Malayalam-speakers. Banasura Chilappan might as well be a local dish as an English bird name.
 

Steve Lister

Senior Birder, ex County Recorder, Garden Moths.
United Kingdom
I think most of us are aware that many long-established "English" bird names are derived from other languages, but adopting the name "Chilappan" seems really quite needlessly confusing. These are laughingthrushes, and it's really quite beyond me why it is useful to discard that name and adopt a name that is utterly meaningless to non-Malayalam-speakers. Banasura Chilappan might as well be a local dish as an English bird name.

Exactly. Well put.
 

andrew147

Well-known member
I think most of us are aware that many long-established "English" bird names are derived from other languages, but adopting the name "Chilappan" seems really quite needlessly confusing. These are laughingthrushes, and it's really quite beyond me why it is useful to discard that name and adopt a name that is utterly meaningless to non-Malayalam-speakers. Banasura Chilappan might as well be a local dish as an English bird name.

Hmmm, there's already a lot of lazy Western-centrism in ornithology.

Montecincla spp aren't really laughingthrushes any more and Chilappan is an evocative and interesting name, so why not adjust?

We tolerate many ridiculous English names - Inca Dove, Golden Eagle, Kentish Plover, Ring-necked Duck, Short-billed Dowitcher - just because they are well-used and familiar.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
'Hmmm, there's already a lot of lazy Western-centrism in ornithology. '

Well; so there should be, it's Westerner's doing much of the work and the names are to be produced in an 'English' language list!

'We tolerate many ridiculous English names - Inca Dove, Golden Eagle, Kentish Plover, Ring-necked Duck, Short-billed Dowitcher - just because they are well-used and familiar.'


No we don't, we tolerate them because they are English names, established by British scientists for useage by English speaking people!!!
 
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pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
No- because they are English!

These names are to be used by English speaking peoples in a list of 'English' names!

Dowitcher is a transliteration of an Iroquois word. You think of it as English because you already know it. To someone on the street it is meaningless.
 

andrew147

Well-known member
Well; so there should be, it's Westerner's doing much of the work and the names are to be produced in an 'English' language list!

No we don't, we tolerate them because they are English names, established by British scientists for useage by English speaking people!!!

Wow! WTVF?!

As most bird diversity is in the tropics, a Western-centric approach is often unhelpful - not just in nomenclature but in taxonomy. For example, we still have a single species of Island Thrush whilst many barely discernible Western forms are championed as species. It creates a skewed perspective.

Further, just because a name is established and English, doesn't mean it isn't utterly absurd... and the names I mentioned weren't created by "British scientists" in the way that chilappan was created by non-British scientists. You can't have it both ways.
 
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andrew147

Well-known member
Dowitcher is a transliteration of an Iroquois word. You think of it as English because you already know it. To someone on the street it is meaningless.

Indeed! However, I was having more of a problem with the 'short-billed' element. Some Short-billed Dowitchers have longer bills than some Long-billed Dowitchers and Asian Dowitchers have longer bills than either.

Try explaining to a non-birder why the obviously long-billed bird is called "short-billed". Ditto Ring-necked Duck when it's sat next to a male Mallard.
 

DMW

Well-known member
Hmmm, there's already a lot of lazy Western-centrism in ornithology.

Montecincla spp aren't really laughingthrushes any more and Chilappan is an evocative and interesting name, so why not adjust?

We tolerate many ridiculous English names - Inca Dove, Golden Eagle, Kentish Plover, Ring-necked Duck, Short-billed Dowitcher - just because they are well-used and familiar.

I'm sorry, I just don't understand your argument. We are talking about the proposed English common name. How is arguing that the existing English element in the English name of a bird might be best maintained, rather than being replaced entirely with an Indian regional language, lazy Western-centrism? English is by definition a western language.

And if you aren't a native speaker of Malayalam, how is "chilappan" evocative of anything? I bet you don't even know how to pronounce it correctly!
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I'm sorry, I just don't understand your argument. We are talking about the proposed English common name. How is arguing that the existing English element in the English name of a bird might be best maintained, rather than being replaced entirely with an Indian regional language, lazy Western-centrism? English is by definition a western language.

And if you aren't a native speaker of Malayalam, how is "chilappan" evocative of anything? I bet you don't even know how to pronounce it correctly!

Well said,
it's absolute nonsense to assign such names for English, common useage.

It's a fad, led by a small group of people.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Indeed! However, I was having more of a problem with the 'short-billed' element. Some Short-billed Dowitchers have longer bills than some Long-billed Dowitchers and Asian Dowitchers have longer bills than either.

Try explaining to a non-birder why the obviously long-billed bird is called "short-billed". Ditto Ring-necked Duck when it's sat next to a male Mallard.

These examples bare no comparison to the situation we now have with some reseachers, for reasons unknown, deciding to assign non English names to species, which are intended for use by English speaking people.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Wow! WTVF?!

As most bird diversity is in the tropics, a Western-centric approach is often unhelpful - not just in nomenclature but in taxonomy. For example, we still have a single species of Island Thrush whilst many barely discernible Western forms are championed as species. It creates a skewed perspective.

Further, just because a name is established and English, doesn't mean it isn't utterly absurd... and the names I mentioned weren't created by "British scientists" in the way that chilappan was created by non-British scientists. You can't have it both ways.

How is this 'Western centric'?

Island Thrush, like many other groups, is awaiting the research which will split them as individual species, each race has a scientific name so where's the problem and WTVF yourself.

You will also find I think, that much of the new 'splitting', is done whenever someone produces a new book. To state that Western species are taking priority over tropical species is absolute nonsense, care to produce some stats to back that up? You'll find that the number of splits in Europe, is probably outnumbered, singly, by Red-bellied Pitta?
 
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Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
English names for English birds...like laughingthrushes.

That's bo******, does something need to be English to have an English name?

Again, an English name is for English speakers using an English list, there are I assume the same in German, Dutch etc? Maybe go the whole hog and write the new species names in Malayalam script too?
 
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Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
If birders were as passionate as they were about conservation as they are about debating the merits of common names, the world would be a far better place...
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
If birders were as passionate as they were about conservation as they are about debating the merits of common names, the world would be a far better place...

Who says most aren't?

Most regular birders in the UK will be members of at least one, probably two, conservation organisations and others volunteer time on reserves.

You don't need to have free, worldwide travel on a carbon neutral yacht to do your bit! I myself used to volunteer repairing hedges and footpaths in various places.
 

andrew147

Well-known member
How is this 'Western centric'?

Island Thrush, like many other groups, is awaiting the research which will split them as individual species, each race has a scientific name so where's the problem and WTVF yourself.

You will also find I think, that much of the new 'splitting', is done whenever someone produces a new book. To state that Western species are taking priority over tropical species is absolute nonsense, care to produce some stats to back that up? You'll find that the number of splits in Europe, is probably outnumbered, singly, by Red-bellied Pitta?

You don't understand my argument about Western-centrism, that's fine. I could explain it more carefully but your condescension + 'all things English' rhetoric leads me to conclude that you'd have no interest in understanding it anyway.

Amusing though that you chose Red-bellied Pitta to counter me, when that had been languishing as a single species for decades until very recently.

My points stand:

even with recent splits, tropical diversity e.g. Todiramphus, Pachycephala, Cyclopsitta, Apalis, Furnariidae - is still vastly understated; Northern temperate diversity e.g. Lanius, Larus, Catharus - is often over-stated. This makes most world bird species lists rather like ornithological Mercator projections.

taking ownership of toucan and aracari (which most people can't pronounce btw) whilst pouring scorn over chilappan is as grotesque as it is inane.

...okay, I'll do you a deal - I'll devote the next few days to working out the stats to back up my argument, if you can find me a single bird book that describes partridges as 'tinamou-like'.
 
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Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
taking ownership of toucan and aracari (which most people can't pronounce btw) whilst pouring scorn over chilappan is as grotesque as it is inane.

...okay, I'll do you a deal - I'll devote the next few days to working out the stats to back up my argument, if you can find me a single bird book that describes partridges as 'tinamou-like'.

1. Patronising in the extreme

2. Why would you describe a Partridge as 'Tinamou like', I really don't understand that point and it would only be relevant in a book which covers the area where both occurr plus, most birders I kinow, would probably not think a Partridge is Tinamou like so that's lost on me I'm afraid.

Have a look at these current proposals by the IOC, species due to be split, I only had a quick glance but 'Western centrism' is not a term that springs to mind. You also overlook the fact that there are a finite number of professionals who dedicate themselves to such things, they can't all be done at once.

https://www.worldbirdnames.org/updates/update-diary/

As someone who uses the IOC and keeps abreast of any changes, I can think of very few species in the West that have been split recently, the Iberian stuff springs to mind but apart from that, it's mostly been in the tropics.

I still don't see the justification for the new, silly names, why is it a problem to produce English names, to be used on an English language list for English speaking people?
 
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