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  ( 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".


Alvaro Jaramillo




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.