NAME THAT BIRD! (Part 2)
The International Ornithological Congress (IOC) established its world bird list to resolve a widespread problem amongst ornithologists worldwide: there were many examples of different bird species having the same English name. Now in its ninth year, the birdlist, which is hosted on the IOC’s World Bird Names website, is currently at Version 9.2.
Since its inception, the birdlist has gradually expanded its role to become a database of consensus about bird species taxonomy. However, I thought it would be appropriate to write a series of blog posts about the English names in the database, to recognise the IOC’s contribution to this particular aspect of ornithology.
The posts will be light-hearted and casual, appearing from time-to-time amid my more regular news items. This is the second such post (the first was published on 31st May this year).
In v9.2 of the IOC bird list there are 10758 extant bird species.
150 species have an English name that consists of just one word. The shortest names are just 3 letters in length:
005/0076 Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae of Australia
454/3691 Kea Nestor notabilis, a New Zealand Parrot of southern New Zealand
and two Honeyeaters:
548/5327 Tui Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae of New Zealand mainland, Kermadec, Chatham, Auckland islands
548/543Y Mao Gymnomyza aubryana of the Samoan islands
There are eight species with a single word name of 4 letters:
042/0119 Nene Branta sandvicensis (Hawaii)
042/0224 Smew Mergellus albellus (Western Palearctic, Asia)
201/127F Sora Porzana carolina (Americas)
274/1571 Ruff Calidris pugnax (worldwide)
185/1180 Kagu Rhynochetos jubatus (New Caledonia)
684/6262 Rook Corvus frugilegus (Western Palearctic, Asia)
900/8012 Omao Myadestes obscurus (Hawaii)
900/903F Iiwi Drepanis coccinea (Hawaii)
The bird species with the longest single-word English name is:
339/2466 Chuck-will’s-widow Antrostomus carolinensis, a Nightjar of the Americas.
8822 species have an English name consisting of two words, and there are 1729 species with three words in their English name.
This leaves just 57 species having a four-word English name (none has more than four words).
The bird species with the longest English name (35 characters, including spaces) is:
925/8520 Prigogine’s Double-collared Sunbird Cinnyris prigoginei,
a local endemic found only in south-east Democratic Republic of the Congo. Note that this name has three words (one of which is hyphenated).
The longest two-word English name comes in at 33 characters (including the blank space):
616/5571 Black-and-white Shrike-flycatcher Bias musicus,
which is a member of the Vangas & Allies family resident in western, central and eastern Africa.
There are 7 species with three-word English names of 33 characters (none has 34 characters).
27 species have English names of 32 characters.
32 species have English names of 31 characters. The longest four-word names appear in this list:
379/3078 North Solomons Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx meeki
700/631F King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise Pteridophora alberti
804/6979 Northern Marquesan Reed Warbler Acrocephalus percernis
804/697Y Southern Marquesan Reed Warbler Acrocephalus mendanae
Some details …
Each of the ATWB 2020 Companion Guides has a number of important features, including:
– A complete taxonomic listing of bird species
– An indication of where each bird family and species can be found in its native state
– Spotlighted species that have a restricted regional or worldwide range
However, perhaps the key feature of all eBooks in the Companion Guide series is the way you can quickly and simply access relevant, up to date online information about every featured bird species. If your reading device is connected to the internet, a single click will take you to a search results page for a species, from where you can continue to search for additional information to whatever level of detail you desire.
The ‘All the World’s Birds’ series of Companion Guides derives its taxonomy, English names and scientific names from The IOC World Bird List, an open access resource maintained by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC). The IOC bird list is hosted on a dedicated World Bird Names website, which provides access to the list in various different formats. The version of the IOC bird list used in the ‘All the World’s Birds 2020’ series of Companion Guides is Version 9.2, published June 22 2019.
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