21 November 2007

Name List Update Released for World Birds

By James Ed. Ducey

A list of names used for World Bird Names has just been released after another set of significant revisions.

A committee of the International Ornithological Society developed the list.

“The names are based on a consensus of leading ornithologists worldwide and conform to standard rules of construction,” the World Bird Names website says. "Ten principles guide the choice of recommended English names of birds."

The bird names are within thirty groups, combined among the type of species such as waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, nightjars, bulbuls to Old World warblers, buntings tanagers and allies. A web browser search option can be used to find a particular online entry.

The IOC has specific naming guielines to develop a single accepted name for each taxon of bird. The group promoting the IOC list have worked with other ornithology organisations to rectify bird names. The list has been acepted in Germany and Switzerland. A point of contention with North American taxonomists is the potential for eliminating the hyphen from names, the IOC website says.

The most recent update was November 15th, and now includes revisions from Clements Sixth Edition, released in early October. The website also details any species revisions, corrections made in the list, to revise spelling matters, a few typos.

The names page of the groups' website explains some upcoming changes to the list.

"The next major upgrade, led by Taxonomic Editor David Donsker and scheduled for late December 2007, will include all proposed species splits and taxonomic changes published in peer-reviewed ornithological journals in 2005-2007. Improved alignment of our species taxonomy with that of Birdlife International is one of our goals for that upgrade."

Frank Gill and Minturn Wright were the co-chairs of the IOC Standing Committee on English Names, in April 2007. Participants from around the world have helped with the project, underway since 1991.

The primary goal of the IOC is develop a standard list of names for birds around the world, and allow free use of the resource.

A spreadsheet with the text in spreadsheet format is available for downloading.

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