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new idea: English names for Clapper/King Rail split (1 Viewer)

Kratter

Well-known member
I hope the moderators can tolerate another thread on this. Activity on the older thread has died down, and we need some input on this new idea. The draft supplement is due at the Auk in a couple weeks, so I hope this can generate positive or negative feedback quickly.

I have come up with what may be kind of a kooky idea, but it may be more satisfying to lots of people; call all rails in this group "clappers": so

Saltmarsh Clapper, R. crepitans
King Clapper, R elegans
Aztec Clapper, R tenuirostris
Mangrove Clapper, R. longoirostris
Ridgway's Clapper, R. obsoletus
or another new name I have for the last taxon:
San Andreas Clapper (because the distribution kind of follows the San Andreas Fault).

Any thoughts?

Andy
 

chris butterworth

aka The Person Named Above
Yes ( when didn't I ;) ). What are they? Ducks? Ostriches? BoP's? "Clappers" are the swingy things inside bells. Although it may be cumbersome 'Rail' has to be included, for clarity. Although "San Andreas" does equate well with the distribution, it also could imply a very limited distribution around some place called San Andreas. California, as in the biogeographical region, not the political entity, would be more accurate.
....... or Ridgways. I've never seen anything wrong with using a surname, as it eliminates the need to define an area or plumage detail.
 
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njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I have been traveling, so only followed this discussion intermittently. However, I like this proposal in the sense that it does not leave the crepitans group as Clapper Rail which was my main problem with the previous proposals.

Like seemingly everyone else, I could live with King Rail in the name of stability - I also believe that name would lead to minimal confusion. I have not seen arguments that convince me that Clapper Rail is in a similar situation, I still think the name has been used too widely to retain for one group.

Niels
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Sorry, but Uggh!

Would doing so leave Rallus linguistically paraphyletic in English? (i.e., will there be some Rallus spp still called Xxxx Rail, which are more closely related to "clappers" than they are to other rails?)

I think I'd rather see Obsolete Rail for R. obsoletus. 3:)
 

HH75

Well-known member
Ireland
Would doing so leave Rallus linguistically paraphyletic in English? (i.e., will there be some Rallus spp still called Xxxx Rail, which are more closely related to "clappers" than they are to other rails?)

Like how Sora 'Rail' is a Porzana crake...? ;)
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
Like how Sora 'Rail' is a Porzana crake...? ;)
:-O

Not sure anyone still calls it "Sora Rail" now, though?

But suppose Rallus limicola proves to be more related to the "clappers" than it is to R. aquaticus – a very plausible scenario - would it have to be renamed "Virginia Clapper"?
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Chiming in after 4 days at Magee Marsh (e.g. warbler palooza).

So...I did my Masters in San Diego, where Clapper is by far the most commonly seen rail. And pretty much we would always just call out "Clapper" when we spotted one. So I am fine with that as the common name sans the rail.

Not terribly happy with San Andreas...but then again there isn't going to a clear winner for that species, and I gave my thoughts in the other thread.
 

MichaelRetter

Michael L. P. Retter
I could get onboard with this, but "King Clapper" isn't a good idea in my opinion. It combines two old names and will breed confusion. Why not "Elegant Clapper"? I really like "San Andreas", whether it comes before "rail" or "clapper", but I don't see any problem with "Ridgway's", either.
 

Richard Klim

-------------------------
...but I don't see any problem with "Ridgway's", either.
But Ridgway described several rail taxa. Why should Rallus obsoletus (rather than, eg, R tenuirostris) be singled out as 'Ridgway's Rail'?
  • Laterallus jamaicensis coturniculus (Ridgway)
  • Rallus (longirostris) obsoletus obsoletus Ridgway
  • Rallus (longirostris) obsoletus beldingi Ridgway
  • Rallus (longirostris) crepitans saturatus Ridgway
  • Rallus (longirostris) crepitans caribaeus Ridgway
  • Rallus (elegans) tenuirostris Ridgway
  • Dryolimnas cuvieri abbotti (Ridgway)
  • Fulica caribaea Ridgway [OK, not a 'rail' in vernacular terms]
 
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MichaelRetter

Michael L. P. Retter
Why not? I don't see the logic in that being a reason *not* to honor the man. There are dozens of warblers with yellow throats, and dozens of flycatchers with olive sides. You're probably one of 5 or 6 people on earth who know that, anyway. ;-)
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
There are dozens of warblers with yellow throats, and dozens of flycatchers with olive sides.
On similar reasoning, why not California Rail? Others like California Quail and California Gull are not wholly restricted to California, so that the rail also extends into parts of NW Mexico outside of Baja California does not matter. Particularly not as the people living where it occurs outside of the Californias will use a Spanish name for it, not an English one.
 

DarkFireFalcon

Well-known member
That fact that the distribution of California Quail and Gull span several states and 3 countries seems a little silly. I don't think the existence of birds with names that inappropriately include California should justify adding to their number. Why not call it Mexican Rail (though that seems equally silly to me)? It's got about as much of its distribution in Mexico as California, maybe more.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
That fact that the distribution of California Quail and Gull span several states and 3 countries seems a little silly. I don't think the existence of birds with names that inappropriately include California should justify adding to their number. Why not call it Mexican Rail (though that seems equally silly to me)? It's got about as much of its distribution in Mexico as California, maybe more.
How much of its range is outside Alta California + Baja California?
 

Richard Klim

-------------------------
Rallus obsoletus

Why not call it Mexican Rail (though that seems equally silly to me)? It's got about as much of its distribution in Mexico as California, maybe more.
How much of its range is outside Alta California + Baja California?
The range of Rallus [longirostris] obsoletus yumanensis extends south to Nayarit. But all four widely-recognised subspecies are resident in California sensu lato. (And it's common practice for vernacular names to reflect the core ranges of species.)

'Mexican Rail' would be more appropriate for R [elegans] tenuirostris ('Highland/Aztec Rail'), the only Mexican endemic species within the complex.
 
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