Proposal (171) to South American Classification Committee

 

Change English name of all South American Myioborus to Whitestart

 

1. In proposal #63 Myioborus picta is mentioned as a reason not to change to whitestart by 3 of the 4 no-voters. This reflects sentimental reasons for a North American species. The SACC should discuss South American birds ­ not species only occurring in North and Central America. If it is felt necessary for the American public to remain with Painted Redstart this is a decision the AOUNACC should take (a similar case as the American Robin (Thrush).  Some of the no-voters should rethink their reasons for not approving the name-change. Too much sentiment -- and little factual reasoning??

 

2. [erased 4/7/05, at request of G. Engblom]

 

In any case, three SACC members have not left their votes yet on the SACC website -- so I guess this is still an open question.

 

[corrigendum; 5 May 05]: I was not aware of the proposal tracking chart where the votes were made (without comments) when I wrote this comment. If you do not know the site ­ this area is difficult to find.

 

3. In the reference list many books covering only North American or Central American species are mentioned. If these use redstart for Myioborus this is irrelevant to a committee that looks to what name should apply to the bulk of the genus that occurs entirely South America. Furthermore the authors of Birds of Mexico (Howell) and Birds of Panama (Ridgely) have changed their minds and call Myioborus whitestart in consequent work (Where to watch birds in Mexico and Birds of Ecuador). The author of Birds of Costa Rica (Stiles) also prefers Whitestart nowadays (see above).

 

4. Hillty also changed his mind. Redstart (with Whitestart in parenthesis) in Birds of Colombia and Whitestart in Birds of Venezuela.

 

5. Many new books and CD collections that use Whitestart are not listed in the reference list. Therefore let me list these here:

 

Birds of the High Andes (1990) Fjeldså and Krabbe.
Checklist of the Birds of Colombia (2001) Salaman et al.
Where to watch birds in Mexico (1999) Howell
Aves de la Sabana de Bogota (2000) Asociacion Bogotana de Ornitologia
Annotated checklist of the birds of Argentina (2001) Barnett and Pearman
South American Birds (1987) Dunning
Endemic Bird Areas of the World (1998) BirdLife International
Threatened Birds of the World (2000). BirdLife International
Field Guide to the birds of Machu Picchu (2001). Walker and Fjeldså
Birds of Ecuadorian Highlands 4 CD-set (2001). Krabbe et al
The birds of North-west Ecuador 3 CD set (1999) Moore et al
Birds of Ecuador DVD (2004). Krabbe and Nilsson
A Guide to the bird-watching in Ecuador and the Galapagos islands. (1996). Williams et al
An annotated list of mainland Ecuador (1998). Ridgely et al.

 

Thus the bulk of books and CD sets that have been printed in recent years covering South American birds have used Whitestart. 

 

6. On <http://www.birdingperu.com/boards/>http://www.birdingperu.com/boards/ the public have been able to vote for white-start or redstart. So far 85% (34/40) prefer calling them Whitestarts in South America. The web-site to vote on has been made known to subscribers of the list servers Birdchat (US principally), Birding Peru, Aves Ecuador, Neoorn and Bird Forum.

 

Gunnar Engblom, March 2005

 

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Additional email exchanges Remsen/Engblom, forwarded by Engblom:

From: "Gunnar Engblom" <gunnar@kolibriexpeditions.com>
To: "'Van Remsen'" <najames@lsu.edu>
Cc: <tschulenberg@fieldmuseum.org...snip... <rridgely@abcbirds.org>
Subject: RE: Myioborus Whitestart/Redstart thread - PROPOSAL!!

Van

I decided to wait to reply, to let the issue mature some more on <http://www.birdingperu.com/>http://www.birdingperu.com/boards/ and also having a birding trip to attend to in the meantime.

 

Now I am back to take on your comments and leave you with a formal proposal -- I repeat THIS IS A FORMAL PROPOSAL!! - that follows below the reply to your last mail.

 

For the information to the others SACC members and the scientific advisors, I enclose our previous e-mailing at the bottom of this mail. I hope I got the right e-mails!

Gunnar Engblom-Lima, Peru.

 

At 15:57 -0500 3/1/05, Gunnar Engblom wrote:

 

Gunnar says:
As you may have seen I have taken on this ol´ thread one step further. 
... a proposition to SACC to vote for. In fact my last mail to you was a proposition, but you never forwarded it to the committee.

 

Van Says:

Gunnar -- I'm not sure what you mean by "prove me wrong"? What is there to "prove" in the case of English names? Concerning your email on this of a year ago or so, I did not interpret what you sent me as a formal proposal, and upon re-reading it below, it still reads to me as a query, not a proposal. Send us a proposal whenever you put one together. Keep in mind that a simple popularity contest based on a biased sample of birders who have visited Peru or whatever will carry little weight, at least with me (but I'm only one vote of 10).

 

The only thing I find irritating is that your language implies that we aren't receptive to non-academics or something like that. The irony is that the SACC process is more accessible and more transparent than any classification project in the history of ornithology. Further, I have pleaded for proposals and input on NEOORN, and the plea and the process are outlined in the introductory paragraphs at the SACC site.

 

Gunnar's reply:
The SACC process is transparent and accessible, but you cannot really say you are receptive to non-academics. Neoorn is a list where 90% of the subscribers (my guess) have some academic biology training. It is certainly not a where many ordinary birders take part. All of the discussions regarding about the species use almost completely the scientific names which also is not non-academic friendly. When it comes to the English names it is the non-academic who in particular care about what they are. Stability is generally good, but in some cases new names have been proposed in the popular birding literature or by individuals and many of these proposals have been approved by the committee while others have not. This is where SACC is taking too much responsibility ­ 10 people who hardly ever would use English bird names are the ones to decide what millions of birders shall call the birds. Let the people in! I can hardly pretend that Kapten Kaos little survey on the matter is representative for all birders, but it does show the point. Most people who have cared to vote do not favour the use of redstart for a distinct group of birds that has no red in the tail. Whitestart is more appropriate.

 

SACC could have been more receptive to non-academics if they would have notified different listservers around the world such as Birdchat or Birding Peru (well I did that for you), but when it comes to English names a better approach would have been to through American Birding Association and Neotropical Birdclub get a forum started where the birders could vote for the preferred alternative ­ and then on these basis and the comments made ­ SACC would have a better material to judge.

 

I also think for English names it would have been best to use Clements, not Howard/Moore as the base-line-- because that is the most used world checklist by birders.

 

As for "prove you wrong" I am referring to your statement in your mail to me from last year (below). ("Although many current guides use "Whitestart", I suspect the next generation will not-- for example, it's Redstart in the forthcoming Peru book and the just-published Bolivian checklist. . Also, with Howell-Webb, Stiles-Skutch, and Ridgely-Gwynne likely the standard guides for many years to come in Middle America, I doubt that you'll see "Whitestart" become widespread there any time soon."):

 

Well I think the birders will prefer Whitestart. All of the above mentioned primary authors have changed their opinion regarding the name for Myioborus. Stiles has already made known on the SACC page that he prefers Whitestart, Ridgely's latest book on the birds of Ecuador uses whitestart and finally Howell, published a birdfinding guide to Mexico and guess what? --Whitestart. So if we'd have new editions of these books coming they would all prefer whitestart.

 

As for the forthcoming Peru book and newly published Bolivia checklist the first is still not published so I guess it will follow whatever a final decision made by SACC .

 

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Gunnar says:

In any case, want you to know that I think you are doing a great work in getting this checklist done. This will be the baseline for ornithologists and birders alike to know where to put the efforts to find data enough to solve some of the taxonomic puzzles out there. I know there are a lot of birders that would happily make contributions if they only knew what kind of information is relevant and where it shall be deposited or reported.

 

Van says:

--- anyone interested in a particular problem that has been dealt with in a proposal so far can look at the proposal at the SACC site and see if a decision could be changed by additional data. In many cases, however, I suspect the data already exist (mainly in the form of critical recordings archived from key areas), but the obstacle is that they have not been analyzed and published. Our philosophy is that in the case of taxonomy, published evidence is required to change the status quo.

 

Gunnar replies:
This is good. It is necessary to straighten out the taxonomic baseline in a way that there is no question about it. I am somewhat worried about conservation implications of this approach (i.e. Pale-tailed Canastero looses its threat status now when SACC recommends it to be lumped as Creamy-bellied Canastero ­ when in fact much indicates that pale-tailed Canastero instead possibly are at least three species and all threatened.) ­ but I understand the taxonomic point. But English bird names are a different matter. I think the committee of 10 people is too small to decide which the best English bird name is. Birders should have a say.

 

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Gunnar Says:

When it comes to choosing among several different names that occur in literature (field guides) for one species or a group of species, I think the committee makes a good choice if they go for the most correct one.

 

Van Says:

 

--- the problem is that the current generation of field-guide authors has a penchant for making slight name improvements which, in my view, are not worth the loss in stability. The outcome of SACC proposals for "more correct" name changes has typically been to reject them on this basis. However, proposals that change a misleading name have been more successful. Contrary to the implications at your web site, several SACC members are well-plugged into the birding world and have extensive contact with birders.

 

Gunnar replies:
YET you have proposed completely new names instead of those that are already in use by thousands of people who have bought Clements & Shany birds of Peru. (Lulu's Tody-Tyrant and Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird). And in some cases you go for "improved" names, such as Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaner and Scaly-breasted Wren.

 

If the books are out there -- and different new names are already in use (and especially if they are used by Clements -- the number one birdwatcher standard) they should be considered and put to test by the birders and others that will use them.

 

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Gunnar: It would certainly not hurt to ask the birders what they prefer. After all it will be the birders who will use the Common English names. It is the birders who buy the field guides, the checklists, provide many ornithologists with an extra income when they work as guides or write books or checklists. Listen to them! I can happily provide the forum to make surveys for other species where there is more than one name involved to choose from.

 

Van: --- birdwatchers are not the only ones who use English names. Conservationists and professional ornithologists use them extensively. They also buy bird books and certainly read more bird literature than most birders.

 

Yes, but birders are many more than the professional ornithologists. Without the birding market there would not be as many bird books as you find today and certainly a series like HBW would not have been possible if there were only professional ornithologists buying them.

 

Remsen: --- The fundamental problem with your approach is that a vote from someone who has visited Peru once counts the same as someone who has done serious fieldwork there for 30 years. If all voters had similar long-term perspectives on English name use, then perhaps a poll might carry more weight.  But it does not mean that the serious field worker automatically has a stronger argument and that the serious field worker with 30 years of experience is always right. The majority of the newer publications of bird books in South America have used Whitestart. The majority of the birders prefer whitestart ­even Americans (which surprised me!).

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Gunnar: My other critique (as you can see from some of the discussion) is that there is no consequence to your principle rule of ...
...snip...
... find the taxonomic baseline for the checklist based on published work. If you intend to coin new names - you could go on forever.

 

Van: --- I'm not sure I follow all this. For example, the published English name for Myrmeciza castanea was some ugly compound name like "Western Chestnut-tailed Antbird", which I think both you and I would agree is pretty bad. We don't like compound names any more than you do. So, that's why we do not feel obligated to follow the first suggestion in print when a new species is published. We believe that the time to meddle with English names is before they get into the popular literature, not 100 years later, as with "Whitestart." I think we have been faithful to the describers' names in all cases except "Lulu's Tody-Tyrant", and in that case I'm fairly certain, knowing New Johnson pretty well, that his proposed English name was intended as some sort of joke that reflected his disdain for English names period.

 

Gunnar: Lulu's Tody-Tyrant is in use alter the publication of Clements and Shany and about 10000 copies are sold. Everyone I have talked to likes the name. It is quite cute. I think it is not wise to coin a new name.

 

I don´t specifically like compound names ­ but I still prefer Southern Yellow-Grossbeak, Southern Nightengale-Wren and even Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird because I have used them for some time.

 

Remsen: More generally, what you write above seems to be a contradiction to your view on finding the "most correct" name, a process which prevents English names from ever stabilizing given the tendency for field-guide authors to find name "improvement" irresistible.

 

Gunnar: In spite of what I said above, I think eventually there could well be a name committee to come up with improved names if they are necessary, working in a SACC fashion but taking polls and comments from the public, that way the field guide authors would not "have to" come up with new names. Many of Ridgely's new names in birds of south America were very good and had a very high acceptance among the birders. Scientific names are never stabilizing since there is an evolution of finding the correct taxonomic placement for various forms. South American English bird names are in any case used by so relatively few -- and has no local sentimental value ­ so they could go through this evolution as well if "necessary".

 

 

================================================

 

Comments from Remsen: "NO. My opinions were expressed previously in Prop. 63. The New World 'redstarts' take their name from the superficial similarity to Old World Phoenicurus 'redstarts' (which actually aren't red). For more than 100 years, these warblers' names have been acceptable, not misleading, to ornithologists and birders. If we overturn this one because it is misleading, then we should also reconsider "warbler" itself (among others). another name slapped on New World birds because of superficial similarity to Old World 'true' warblers but which is misleading with respect to their songs, which typically lack the melodious, quavering, pitch-changing dictionary connotations of 'warbler.' Yet somehow the planet continues to rotate on its axis."

 

Comments from Stiles: "Whitestarts vs. redstarts: Although I rather intensely dislike the way in which my comment on the previous proposal was used by the self-appointed Spokesman for birders, I do maintain my preference for 'whitestart' which, according to Moynihan (its originator, if I'm not mistaken) , comes from an Old English word for tail (and it´s the sort of thing he would have known). The number of recent publications to use it does suggest that it has 'caught on' to an extent that pretty much overrides the historical precedence of 'redstart'. This said, I am not particularly impressed with the vituperous tone of the Spokesman's remarks, and cannot but wonder a bit about his motives. After all, none of the SACC is not out to make a living from other ornithologists (or birders), nor has any vested interest in tub-thumping for (or against) committee decisions. We adopt a set of ground rules, then do the best we can; we aren't out to please clients. Our starting point for English names is the latest critical list of all S.A. birds that made an explicit attempt to supply English names, that of Meyer de Schauensee in 1966 (with Eisenmann's names). I consider this eminently reasonable. I also consider reasonable our reluctance to change to newer, "better" English names without considerable justification: if we change or improve names at the drop of a hat, what does this augur for stability in the future? The crack about the gringocentricity of the committee is also rather egregious - all of us have spent most or all of our professional lives working with Neotropical birds including a good deal of field work, many of us have lived or live in the Neotropics, and some of us probably know and interact with local birders in South America a good deal. In my experience, most visiting birders are more interested in what is or is not a species for their lists, than in what it's called (although they certainly would like it better if everyone agreed on a name, which means stability!). In this sense, I feel that the SACC is doing its best to achieve both objectives, to the service of birders and ornithologists. Little service is done to either group by trying to whip up confrontations between them."

 

Comments from Zimmer: "NO. As a general rule, I think that proposals that the committee has already voted on should be revisited only if someone can present new evidence or at least a new argument as to why the original decision was incorrect. As far as I can tell, Gunnar has done neither. He hasn't even really presented a formal proposal. This proposal looks like nothing more than the presentation of the results of a tiny opinion poll, and a reiteration of the various publications that already use the name "whitestart". Neither argument is very impressive. More than anything, the Proposal seems to be a platform for a personal rant against what Gunnar perceives as an unfair process -- it is not the name "redstart" that seems to bother him so much as it is the very fact that we are voting and he is not. The idea that the accepted English names of birds should be subject to the whims of the birding masses seems to be an extension of the current cultural fascination with "reality TV" in which everyone gets to vote on everything. I can't imagine a more destabilizing system for producing names and name changes than the one Gunnar advocates -- that of polling the world's birders on a regular basis to see what, if any changes should be made. Gunnar first charges that we, a tiny committee of 10, are making decisions that affect (and seemingly oppress) "millions of birders". Later, he makes the following contradictory statement: "South American English bird names are in any case used by so relatively few - and has no local sentimental value - so they could go through this evolution as well if "necessary"." So which is it, "millions of birders" or "so relatively few" that we are affecting? And if it is millions of birders, how is his straw poll of 40 significantly better than a committee of 10? I support the idea that the SACC proposal process should be open to "non-academics". But many non-academics are capable of making a thoughtful, reasoned argument that is supported by something at least resembling data. This proposal, sadly, does not meet those criteria."

 

Comments from Robbins: "NO. As I indicated in the initial proposal I have for a long time maintained that "whitestart" would be an overall improvement for Myioborus. Nevertheless, I respect that the majority of the committee already has made a decision on this and we have not been given any compelling reason to revisit this proposal. Indeed, the acrimonious and inconsistent manner in which this new "proposal" was presented underscores why a popular vote by the birding masses should not be part of the process, regardless if there is "a few" or "millions". I vote "no" for changing."

 

====================

 

Additional comments from Gunnar Engblom (05/05/05):

"The comments by Zimmer and Stiles on the web-page regarding my motives I feel I have to address. I don't think they have quite understood what I mean.

 

Could you please post the following comments:

 

I am sorry if what I have proposed now looks like a rant just because I do not have a vote. I don't want a vote. I want useful universal bird names. I don't mind if they change, but they should change for a good reason. A well-composed name-committee absorbing comments from the birding and the professional ornithologist community could well have the final word. My vote/voice should not count-just be one of many comments to take into considerations. I do not have access to full ornithological libraries or specimens of all the birds in South America.

 

Before I continue commenting some of Zimmer’s and Stiles’ comments above let me first cite myself from a posting to Neoorn (unfortunately, I believe it is not available from the Neoorn archives anymore). I had had a private dialogue via e-mail with Van Remsen in February 1997, but decided to go "public" with this comment on Neoorn. When I look at it today it still has a lot of relevance of what I feel today so here it is.

 

Myioborus-"White"starts stepping on toes
From: Gunnar Engblom <<mailto:guran-@algonet.se>guran-@algonet.se>
To: <<mailto:NEOORN-L@its1.ocs.lsu.edu>NEOORN-L@its1.ocs.lsu.edu>
BCC: <
<mailto:Toucan@netcomuk.co.uk>Toucan@netcomuk.co.uk>
Date: Feb 6, 1997 - 5:30pm
Dear Van,
I think this discussion could be of interest for the other list-members, who I ask to take part of the cited letters below.

 

It seems that I am stepping on toes and an infected topic. Please forgive me for this. I don´t want to challenge any names commonly used by everyday (US) Americans for ordinary US birds. This would be silly. The redstart should be continued to be called so, as well as flycatchers, warblers, robin, etc. The people colonizing a continent would of course put the same names to the new animals as what they vaguely remind them of on their mother continent. In Spanish Tinamous are known as perdiz (partridges). If you ask a campesino in the Peruvian highlands if he has seen any tinamus, he wouldn´t know what your talking about. You would have better luck with perdiz if he speaks spanish or kiula in quechua/aymara. The sense of this is that I think that Peruvians have the right to give common names to their birds in their language as well as US Americans have the right to use their familiarized terminology for their birds as stated above.

 

But what about the birds that are not found within the US? Their names are meaningless to ordinary (US) Americans (the public). Any name changes on non US birds would only affect very few Neotropical birdwatchers, who principally use the common English names because the scientific names are a bit too awkward in their mouths. The damage is done already as there are many new names introduced by Ridgely and Tudor and other recent books. I don´t think this is a big problem. When guiding in South America, I feel it doesn't really matter whether I use Varzea Mourner and Dusky-cheeked Foliagegleaner instead of Greater Manakin and Crested Foliagegleaner (Schiffornis major and Automolus dorsalis). Europeans and US Americans are not familiar with these birds anyway. So why not give the Neotropical birds good names that we all are at ease with and if they are phylogenetically more correct this would be positive for future students of the Neotropical bird fauna. Of coarse most of the convergent groups still should retain their names as warblers, flycatchers, sparrows etc.

 

I think Ridgely and Tudor started something good in this sense, trying to present names that could set standards for later works. I understand their unease with certain names that described something completely different or names that were confusing. It seems that they didn´t dare to go all the way as the case of the whitestarts implies. Were they afraid to step on someone´s infected toes?

 

Well, now we have a situation with some people adopting the new common names and others who just feel sick about the whole thing. Shouldn't we try to find some consensus for future works. The situation right now is confusing as there are as many standpoints as there are names. Why not form a name committee of some members on this prominent list to produce a Neotropical overall birdlist that could be presented on NEOORN-L for comments, and finally produce a new standard? May the best name win!

 

If not, more "thought-to-be" improvements may be introduced in future works and adopted by some while others will remain feeling sick.

 

Summarizing my viewpoints:

1. Improved common names for Neotropical birds will not upset anyone if there could be some consensus about it.

2. Just because there is a bird in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas that confusingly is called Painted Redstart (Myioborus pictus) by US Americans because it resembles an American Redstart with white in the wings and the tail, this doesn´t mean that all 11 other Myioborus in the Neotropics should be called Redstarts. Whitestarts would suit them better

Gunnar

PS. There hasn't been many contributions to the list the last days. I have a feeling this will change this.

 

>Dear Van
>I followed the discussion about renaming Hylopezus dives to Thicket Antpitta with much interest. I think the list is ...

...snip...
>... common name. I have changed their common name simply to Rhytipterna in my computer but maybe there are better suggestions?
>
>Gunnar

 

>Gunnar -- Many of us Americans do not believe that recent phylogenetic revisions should cause changes in English names. If so, the revolutions that molecular
...snip...
>power of convergence. Let's restrict name changes to cases in which they are
>forced by species-level changes.(such as Hylopezus dives).

 

>Van Remsen

 

>Gunnar -- if we should be so concerned about finding a different name for Myioborus and Setophaga, why stop there? Neither is truly a "Redstart" in the phylogenetic (Phoenicurus) sense. Van Remsen
>

As you may remember I got a lot of "spanking" for this, but maybe today it does not seem to far-fetched. Back to reply to Stiles and Zimmer which I hope you will include as a comment on the web-page:

 

1. Spokesman. I don't think I have mandate to be spokesman of all birders, but I have a survey as back-up and I have a number of clients that would prefer whitestart.

 

2. Gringocentricity: Obviously, I know that all of you guys have lived in SA habitat more than most South Americans (in the sense that most SA citizens are urban or rural and not selvatic like you are). The point is that when it comes to the white-start suggestion it seems from the beginning this was promoted by non-US ornithologists. What I am saying is that anyone having grown up with knowing that "Painted Redstart" you may see someday if you to look for it in the pine-oak canyons in Nevada and Arizona. A true gem!!! I think a US birder whatever age still have this sentiment in him/her ­ and that this showed in the voting for the South American bird names originally in proposal 63 <http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCProp63.html>http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCProp63.html . Painted Redstart was mentioned by three (Remsen, Jaramillo and Zimmer) out of four no-sayers (NO to change to whitestart) who cared to leave a comment with their vote. The fourth NO-voter (Stotz) left a comment saying "not in a million years" and referred very emotionally about a suggestion from 1981 regarding American Redstart vs. Myioborus. Does one have to be European to see that Stotz, Remsen, Jaramillo and Zimmer are predisposed to prefer redstart for all members of the genus in spite that only one regularly occurring in the US is Myioborus picta? I may be wrong, but I think it is more the emotions regarding just ONE species of the genus (of 14 species) depicted and named in the US field guides, that make the above mentioned people vote against proposition 63.

 

Zimmer comments that my proposal does not provide anything new and says it is not a proposal at all. Zimmer does not take into account what I just mentioned that all no sayers mention North American species when they should discuss South American ones! Furthermore, I mention 14 (some very important) works that were simply forgotten in the original proposal. If you just look at the publications that treat South American Myioborus the last 15 years you will find that an overwhelming number of these have used Whitestart instead of redstart ­ including the publications of Birdlife International. What does this tell you? The voting should weigh historic use against common use of whitestart today.

 

3. Zimmer did not quite qet what I advocate. I would like to see a name committee to put already published names to the test ­ birders and ornithologists can vote and leave comment. If the name committee has an urge to introduce a new name ­ like ultra-boring Johnson's Tody-Tyrant instead of catchy Lulu's Tody-Tyrant already in print in 10000 copies of Clements/Shany Birds of Peru and coined by the describer of the species -- well they could test it in a forum (similar to the one I have created).

 

Afterwards, it would nevertheless be up to the name-committee to put down the best final name.
In Europe quite frequently the different countries have had consultative referendums on political issues (for or against joining the EU, for or against the Euro as national currency, etc., etc.)

 

Voting on a discussion board would only be consultive for a name committee to vote on

 

4. My last point regarding a true name committee is hardly discussed at all. Though the present composition of SACC is more than sufficient for deciding on taxonomical matters, I feel it should be expanded when it comes to English Names. Many of the present members do not feel it is a major purpose of the committee to provide English names (let me know if I am wrong). Others put to much weigh on the names of US birds. (Arguments like -- if we change Redstarts ­we ought to change warblers, flycatchers, robins etc., as well -- if not what I mean!!).

 

A. SACC of 10 people could listen to the 40+ people that have left their votes on <http://www.birdingperu.com/>www.birdingperu.com (right now 44 votes and 86% prefers Whitestart for South American Myioborus).

 

B. 44 people is 4.4x more than 10 people.

 

C: Since there is little sentimental value for those relatively few thousands that are in to South American birding today- whether using whitestart or redstart for South America ­ try to get it as right as possible for those millions that may get into birding tomorrow.

 

Cheers everyone. Sorry for being such a pain

 

Gunnar

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Comments from Jaramillo: "YES - I still do not like the sound of Painted Whitestart, but my mind has changed on this subject. Yes, I do want name stability, but that is balanced by certain name changes here and there when the name is truly misleading. Calling something a Little Nightjar is fine even though it may not be the smallest Caprimulgid in the world. There is the other extreme where the name really is dead wrong or misleading, the more I sit back and think about this one, the more comfortable I am in putting it in that category. In effect this is the equivalent of calling Bubo scandiaca the Sooty Owl -- it is just incorrect. There is no red on the tail, so redstart is not appropriate. Setophaga is the American Redstart and that is appropriate, the name redstart for Myioborus is misleading and confusing. One of the reasons we want name stability is to minimize confusion, I would argue that a grossly incorrect English name provides confusion. So if we are in the mindset of minimizing confusion, maybe the name change in this case wins over the stability issue, it does for me.

 

"This has nothing to do with my decision, but the proposal made for enjoyable reading. Gunnar, we are not the dark side of birding and ornithology, as they say in Chile "relajate compadre." But thanks for the input and the involvement, it is important to get different viewpoints involved in the data gathering for these decisions."

 

Comments from Pacheco: "YES. Por razões óbvias, não é confortável para mim opinar acerca da "propriedade" e conveniência dos nomes em Inglês. Logo, o meu voto aqui tem caráter meramente opinioso. Após ler o extenso arrazoado, alinho-me com a opinião do Álvaro."

 

Comments from Nores: "YES. Repito lo mismo que puse en la propuesta #63. Este parece un problema más sentimental que ornitológico. Redstart es evidentemente inapropiado para especies que no tienen color rojo y por eso es mejor "Whitestart". Sin embargo, hay opiniones como la de Stotz que evidentemente están más relacionado con la costumbre de usar un nombre y no ofender a las especies."