Proposal (#23) to South American Classification Committee
Change English name of Eudyptula minor from "Little Blue Penguin" to "Little Penguin"
Here is a copy of the recent email exchange that constitutes the basics of this proposal:
"Alvaro also noted: "Finally, I see that the Australian Ornithologists call this species Little Penguin, I assume that this is the most widely accepted name but perhaps it is not? I propose to call it Little Penguin unless someone can come up with a reason to use one of the other names for this species."
¬†Alvaro -- would you do some background on this make and make it an official proposal? Even if we reject #22, the species stays on the Hypothetical List, and therefore we should consider which English name should be used.
The Australian bird checklist on the net (published by Birds¬† Australia/RAOU) uses the name Little Penguin for Eudyptula minor. HANZAB¬† (http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/hanzab/HANZAB_spp_list.pdf) also uses the¬† name Little Penguin.
The following from Mike Imber, Seabird biologist from New Zealand:
"Dear Alvaro,¬† Here we call it Blue Penguin. Of course, we have to be different from the Aussies and vice versa! Actually, in common everyday usage, Little Blue¬† Penguin is the widespread name. So you have a choice : Little, Blue or¬† Little Blue. This is Nationalism flourishing.¬† Regarding taxonomy, there is hardly 5 years passing without another study¬† of this, from the point of view of anatomy, plumage, vocalisations and, now¬† of course, DNA. The generally accepted concept now is that it forms a¬† single species with a cline from north to south (in NZ) and west to east (Australia to Chatham Is.). Various groupings of the populations (or former subspecies) have been suggested.¬† Hope this helps,¬† Regards¬† Mike Imber "
So we are in a quandary in that we shall have to pick one of the three English names. Since "Little Blue" is a commonly used name that has no official standing in either Australia or New Zealand I suggest that we¬† don't make things any more confusing by making that one our choice. I think¬† we have to choose between "Little" and "Blue". I suggest we use "Little¬† Penguin" as it is the name used by the larger body of¬† ornithologists/birders in Australia, and because the small size is its most¬† visible characteristic that sets it apart from other penguins. King¬† Penguins are every bit as blue as Eudyptula, at least on the back. So if¬† accepted to the South American list, I propose we call Eudyptula minor "Little Penguin".
From Tom Schulenberg: "I vote "Yes". I have not done an exhaustive literature search, but "Little Penguin" also was used by Harrison (1983 Seabirds) and Alexander (1954: anyone remember that one?), so it seems to have a long and widespread history of use.