Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Birds

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English name vs. Scientific name[edit]

It is possible to move these articles back to the English name or is anyone opposed? --Melly42 (talk) 22:14, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

  • I do not know much about these birds, but the person who moved the pages says that the scientific names are the most commonly used name in the edit summaries. If this is the case, then I would think that the scientific names would be kept. Snowman (talk) 22:10, 28 July 2014 (UTC)
The question is whether we should accept (adopt) the common names proposed by BirdLife/IUCN or not (all these names are published in a new BirdLife-Lynx checklist published by Lynx edicions this month) --Melly42 (talk) 17:24, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
WP birds uses IOC bird names unless there is a good reason not to, but WP Birds has had lower case bird names imposed on it. I have had a look at examples of some of the pages on the lynxeds website and it looks like lynxeds use capitalized names. Snowman (talk) 17:54, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Good argument about IOC naming convention, except in the case of Mew/Common Gull. Common Gull is now used here, even though the IOC standardizes on Mew Gull. The good reason it stays as Common? Not enough people wishing the name to change to the IOC standard.......doesn't sound like a good reason to me.......Pvmoutside (talk) 18:16, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
BirdLife has now its own taxonomic check-list which lists several more splits than the IOC list (based on Tobias et al Quantitative criteria for species delimitation, IBIS 2010) and it lists newly described extinct species which are (still) not included in the IOC list. Though Hodgen's waterhen is not a new species, and the common name is mentioned in several books about the extinct New Zealand avifauna (e.g. Worthy or Tennyson) --Melly42 (talk) 18:15, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
I hate the idea of 9998 bird articles at common names and 2 at scientific names. Truth be told I'd be happy with them all at scientific names really.... Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 19:19, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Umm…It's probably true that the scientific common names of these two particular species are more commonly used, because they are only known from fossils. —innotata 19:32, 29 July 2014 (UTC)
Right; probably all articles on fossil birds and proto-birds are at scientific names, like articles on all fossil mammals, reptiles, fish, whatever.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:18, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
In case of the Bermuda flicker, yes (as it was described as new species in 2012 but even Olson used the common name in its scientific description, the same is for the Bermuda Hawk, the Bermuda saw-whet owl or the Bermuda Towhee). According Tribonyx hodgenorum we had several common names and scientific names, e.g. Rallus hodgeni, Gallinula hodgeni, Gallinula hodgenorum, and Tribonyx hodgenorum and common names are Hodgen's rail, Hodgen's moorhen, Hodgen's waterhen, Hodgens' waterhen or New Zealand Flightless Gallinule. As the epithet is referred to the Hodgen brothers (who owned the Pyramid Valley swamp) and not to a single person the correct spelling should be Hodgens' --Melly42 (talk) 21:12, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
  • Most other articles about subfossil birds use "common" names (as in not their scientific names). Not sure why these should be different. FunkMonk (talk) 22:45, 31 July 2014 (UTC)
I think the same. Best example are the moas, see also recent literature like The Lost World of the Moa (Worthy & Holdaway), New Zealand's Extinct Birds (Gill & Martinson), Extinct Birds of New Zealand (Tennyson & Martinson), Extinct Birds (Hume & Walters), Holocene Extinctions (Turvey), Extinction & Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds (Steadman) where you can find all the common names of extinct birds that are only known by subfossil remains --Melly42 (talk) 04:36, 1 August 2014 (UTC)
It is slowly going silent in this discussion without a consensus. So what are you going to do: Will you move these articles or will it all remain unaffected? And if you will do the latter. What will we do with similar bird taxa which still have no article? Should they created with the scientific name with the common name as redirect? (similar to many rodent articles) --Melly42 (talk) 17:14, 3 August 2014 (UTC)
These are fossil species, and have no common names in any meaningful sense, certainly not under WP:COMMON. IOC or whoever can made up vernacular names for them (why? are they going to do that with all the dinosaurs, too?), but WP hasn't any reason to use those names.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  00:19, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
It is perhaps worth pointing out that the researchers who described these species also suggested the common names; it was not the IOC. And no, I don't think the IOC is planning to "do that with all the dinosaurs too". :) MeegsC (talk) 01:39, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
Whoever. It's not conventional to use vernacular names for fossil species, and it's unlikely they'd ever be used much in paleontology generally, only in a small corner of ornithology, and thus never become the WP:COMMONNAME. I wasn't making an anti-IOC poitn, I was making the point that we don't have to care what some organization (or some researcher, or whoever) prefers or advocates or did off-the-cuff; it's now how we decided to title and write articles. All our fossil fauna articles are at scientific names, and that's conventional not just in scientific literature but even in every-day mainstream reporting about them (e.g. major fossil find reported in local newspaper), so there's neither an internal nor external rationale for moving two of these articles to vernacular names.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:18, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
While the "vernacular names" may ahve been suggested, it takes looking at the usage in the literature to determine what name fills the outlines of wp:common best. With rare exceptions the binomial or trimonial is the more commonly used in writings about extinct taxa. Dinosaurs are a great example of the fact that binomials are NOT scary to the public unless they are made to be. I would be against moving of the extinct species simply due to the suggestion of a "vernaular" for it.--Kevmin § 02:12, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. If we can determine that a name is are more commonly used, we use it. Usually, that should be all we need to ask. @SMcCandlish: Errrr… some vernacular names for fossil species definitely are used, so they can fairly be called common names; as has been mentioned a few times before, these names were suggested by researchers in publications about them. Indeed, the vernacular names for the moa-nalo species (known only from fossils/subfossils; the name of the group is a neologism, because there was no native Hawaiian memory of these birds) seem to be more commonly used than the scientific names, and the Wikipedia articles on them currently are under the vernacular names. —innotata 05:02, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
Okay @Kevmin: and @Innotata:, which literature do you suggest we check? And how? I've read elsewhere that "google searches" are not appropriate for determining usage, so what do you suggest? MeegsC (talk) 11:09, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
Re: "some vernacular names for fossil species definitely are used" that may be true... but are they used more often than the scientific names are? The key to WP:COMMONNAME is the comparative frequency of useage. If a scientific name is used more often than a vernacular name... then the scientific name is actually the COMMONNAME. Blueboar (talk) 12:37, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
  • As an example of where common names are mainly used for subfossil birds in the recent literature, the entire extinct Mascarene bird fauna would be a good example. FunkMonk (talk) 13:22, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
I also ask what Blueboar asked, since I was beaten to it. :-) Also, I would probably bet money that they're only "more commonly used than the scientific names" in ornithological publications, and that the neologistic vernacular is disused in broader paleontology, which is a more appropriate scope to consider. For subfossil vs. fossil cases, the obvious consistency/sanity case for Wikipedia is to treat genera/species/subspecies known only from the subfossil record as if fossil, but those that survived long enough to have known, historical native names and/or to be given Western vernacular names (e.g the dodo and the kiwi) to be at native/vernacular article title (the most common per WP:COMMONNAME, whether that agrees with IOC or not).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:18, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
"Broader paleontology" does not exist, there are palaeontologists who specialise in extinct birds, and these are divided into two distinct groups, "recent extinctions, and "prehistoric" ones. The latter group is quite broad, and common names are used for many of the species that went extinct during the Holocene. FunkMonk (talk) 06:30, 5 October 2014 (UTC)
Another good example is the Chatham kaka. It has a common name but it has no scientific name yet (we have to be somewhat patient as the scientific description will be finally published in late August) --Melly42 (talk) 17:36, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
Well, I just did a few literature searches — using various elements of Google, since no one has suggested any other way of looking. If I search the term Tribonyx hodgenorum, I get 139 total hits (excluding Wikipedia and mirror sites): 2 if I restrict it to (non-Wikipedia) books only, 1 if I do a Google Scholar search. If I search the term "Hodgen's waterhen", I get a total of 625 hits (excluding Wikipedia and mirror sites), 7 using the (non-Wikipedia) book search and 4 using the scholar search (2 more without the apostrophe). If we're serious about WP:COMMONNAME, then perhaps this article does belong at Hodgen's waterhen after all. Or is there some other literature search that should be done? MeegsC (talk) 20:22, 6 August 2014 (UTC)
A literature check: Ron Scarlett (1955, scientific description): Rallus hodgeni, W. R. B Oliver: New Zealand Birds (1955): New Zealand Gallinule (Pyramidia hodgeni), S. Dillon Ripley (1977): Rails of the World: Gallinulla hodgeni, Brian Gill & Paul Martinson: New Zealand's Extinct Birds (1992): Hodgen's waterhen, Extinct Birds of New Zealand (Tennyson & Martinson, 2006): Hodgens' waterhen, Extinct Birds (Hume & Walters, 2012): New Zealand Flightless Gallinule, Holocene Extinctions (Turvey, 2009): Hodgen's waterhen, Extinction & Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds (Steadman, 2006): Hodgen's moorhen, The Lost World of the Moa (Worthy & Holdaway, 2003): Hodgens' waterhen, HBW & Birdlife Illustrated Check-list (Collar & Del Hoyo, 2014): Hodgens's waterhen (IUCN Red List: Hodgen's waterhen). Other check-lists like IOC, ebirds/Clements or H&M didn't list this taxon at all. -Melly42 (talk) 21:54, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
@Melly42:, did any of these references list the species in more than one way (i.e. scientific name and vernacular name)? Or were they all either/or? MeegsC (talk) 21:59, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
As I have written above there were various scientific names for this rail. Until recently the scientific names were Gallinula hodgeni or Gallinula hodgenorum (the latter is correct as this bird was named for two people). After Christides & Boles (2008) split Tribonyx from Gallinula the correct combination is now Tribonyx (see also the other native-hens which are in the genus). Apart from the first two references all other references list the vernacular and scientific name --Melly42 (talk) 22:14, 7 August 2014 (UTC)
A case where the experts can't agree on taxonomy would perhaps be a case for using a vernacular name here for a fossil species, but perhaps the only one, aside from cases where not even a tentative binomial or trinomial has been published yet. In such a case as the latter, it calls into question whether there should be a WP article at all, since it may well turn out that the specimen ends up classified as being of an existing species; such false alarms are rather frequent. Per WP:CRYSTAL, WP:NOT#NEWS and perhaps even WP:FRINGE, it isn't WP's job to "report on" bleeding-edge paleontological finds and theories that are tentative and for which there isn't yet any consensus in the external primary source literature yet on even what it is they've found. Such topics are arguably categorically non-encyclopedic, unless something external to the find itself is notable, such as controversy surrounding it. One such case is Flores man; the classification Homo floresiensis is tentative and disputed. However, note that once we did determine it was notable enough to have an article here, it was put at the binomial, despite any doubts surrounding that name. That's a precedent that strongly suggests that if an unclassified fossil or subfossil of any kind, including a bird, has a describer-invented vernacular name, and one or more tentative binomials or trinomials, we should use the best-accepted scientific name for it, not the vernacular one. A view that always put WP:COMMONNAME above all the other WP:CRITERIA no matter what, might actually put that article at Hobbit (hominid), because of how many mainstream but non-peer-reviewed sources (TV news, newspapers, etc.) used "Hobbit" to refer to them, only mentioning the binomial in passing if at all. It's a common sense matter, really.

If we're not doing that with H. floresiensis we shouldn't do it with Tribonyx hodgenorum or whatever (redir from its other, Gallinula, names). The Google searching, above, about that one produces misleading results, because it just pits one of multiple binomials against the vernacular, and Melly42's question is also important - how many of those sources gave both a vernacular and a binomial - while suggesting others, like were there other vernaculars (e.g. Hodgens' waterhen, with the apostrophe in the right place, or New Zealand flightless gallinule), and did any of them clearly prefer a binomial and only mention the vernacular parenthetically (or vice versa), and so on. Given that COMMONNAME is not 100% of the time the deciding factor, and we have a clear standard of using scientific not vernacular names for species only known from paleontology, there's no clear rationale to diverge from that here (not "because birds" as teh interwebs say lately, and not because of anything else). PS: It would also be a bad idea to use an incorrect name like "Hodgen's waterhen" ('s, not s') just because some "reliable" sources also get this wrong.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  09:18, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Many subfossil bird species from Hawaii or from the Pacific have vernacular names (see e.g. Extinct Birds by Hume & Walters, Hawaiian Honeycreepers by Pratt or Extinction & Biogeography of Tropical Pacific Birds (Steadman, 2006) and others got there vernacular names even before the official Scientific description (e.g. New Caledonia snipe (2013) or the Chatham kaka (2014)) but in many of these cases the vernacular names are also proposed in the Scientific description --Melly42 (talk) 17:51, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
My ideal I suppose is that very recently (post-1600) extinct birds would have a common name while older things are scientific...but I don't know how many creatures comply with this. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:59, 29 August 2014 (UTC)
well the IUCN gave the 16th century (post-1500) for recently extinct species. But your idea will be mean that the lemmas of all pre-1500 extinctions (e.g. all moa species or the Asiatic ostrich or the Bennu heron) must be created with the Scientific name. I would propose to give vernacular names for all Holocene extinct bird species (i.e. 9000 BC to now) when they are mentioned in recent literature --Melly42 (talk) 13:14, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Yeah happy to go whole holocene too, didn't ask as I thought it was too ambitious..... Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:20, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree. FunkMonk (talk) 06:25, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

authority for Fregatidae[edit] given as 1867, but when you go to the work (see here) they have it as a genus not a family....stumped. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 22:30, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

This says Garrod, 1874, and I didn't see anything earlier at Google Books. —JerryFriedman (Talk) 04:05, 30 November 2014 (UTC)
I'll write to some of the secondary sources and see what they say.....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 06:52, 30 November 2014 (UTC)
Got word from Richard Schodde himself 1867 authority is right as they have it listed in the Table of Contents as Fregatinae. Hence valid. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:13, 9 December 2014 (UTC)


trying to expand this for DYK but I don't have much info on S American birds. If anyone can chip in it'd be appreciated. cheers, Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 13:14, 9 December 2014 (UTC)


Writer says coloring displays "considerable variation even amongst species." Because variation in coloring among species is to be expected, I believe writer must have meant within species, especially because of that even. Since this is not an area in which I am expert, I am reluctant to make the edit myself and ask an owl expert to review the wording. Thanks! (talk) 02:01, 14 December 2014 (UTC)LINKBook

A Flock Of Genomes[edit]

Has anybody read the Flock of Genomes article? Are they saying they fully sequenced the genomes of 45 species of birds? Abductive (reasoning) 05:04, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

Yup, so cool. Here's a list of their publications from that sequencing effort: [1]. I saw Bird and Neoaves already got updated with their phylogenetic tree. Narayanese (talk) 09:07, 14 December 2014 (UTC) it...digesting. Alot of it was known though some of the isolated ones like tropicbirds have been problematic for a good to get some more clarity. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 12:46, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Which tree in their article are they saying is the most correct one, seeing as how there's a lot of trees demonstrating flawed tree-building? Abductive (reasoning) 18:46, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
@Abductive: - this one is the one to look at for summary/consensus/conclusion etc. cheers, Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:43, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

Elfin woods warbler[edit]

Is anyone able to brush up this FA, so it can avoid a Featured article review? If someone does the work, please leave a note at the talk page of WP:URFA. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:13, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

We took a look at this a while ago - hopefully less to do now.....Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:50, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
As the species is named after a place, "Elfin Woodland" where it was discovered (see here) the normal practice in English would be to capitalised the name as Elfin Woods warbler. Should I make this change? (I'm posting here for higher visibility as a similar reasoning may apply to other bird names). Aa77zz (talk) 13:28, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
If that were the case, yes. But such phrases as "This is typical of the Elfin Woodland on the higher peaks in Luquillo Forest" suggest to me that it is used there as an alternative term for the montane vegetation type, elfin forest, rather than as a place name. William Avery (talk) 15:02, 21 December 2014 (UTC)