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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bank Swallows and Common Loons about to disappear

In case you haven't heard this yet, there is a proposal to get rid of the common names of some familiar North American birds, including Common Loon, Eared Grebe, Ring-necked Pheasant, Dovekie, Rock Pigeon, European Starling, Bank Swallow, White-winged Crossbill, and Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow.

In Frank Gill and Minturn Wright's new book Birds of the World: Recommended English Names, the names of these birds are replaced by Great Northern Loon, Black-necked Grebe, Common Pheasant, Little Auk, Common Pigeon, Common Starling, Sand Martin, Two-barred Crossbill, and Saltmarsh Sparrow.

So what are the chances that these names will be adopted by the American Ornithologists' Union Committee on Systematics and Nomenclature, the group that decides on the names of birds? Well, Frank Gill was the head of the International Ornithological Congress committee that worked through regional sub-groups to come up with all these names. The current AOU committe members that will have to vote on these recommendations are Richard C. Banks, Carla Cicero, Jonathan L. Dunn, Andrew W. Kratter, Irby J. Lovette, Pamela C. Rasmussen, J. V. Remsen, Jr., James D. Rising, and Douglas F. Stotz.

Keep your ears to the ground, but English bird name changes appear to be on the horizon. There are even more changes than those I listed here.

Other bloggers with thoughts on this include:
Birds Etcetra
Aimophila Adventures

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Changing White-winged to Two-barred Crossbill seems unnecessary to me – the Old World and New World forms surely deserve to be treated (and therefore named) as separate entities.

Jan Hein van Steenis,
The Netherlands

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