Proposal (253) to South American Classification Committee


Change the English name of Oceanodroma hornbyi from Ringed Storm-Petrel to Hornby's Storm-Petrel


Worrying about patronyms from the Eisenmann days is rather hypocritical when the AOU changed the long-established Hornby's Storm-Petrel to Ringed Storm-Petrel!  The former name is widely used among seabird people (and seabird books) but now some latter-day Eisenmann has created the blah Ringed Storm-Petrel. I've heard some South Americans aren't happy about the name Hornby's. In short:


And note that Alvaro Jaramillo, a native Chilean, uses Hornby's in his guide to the birds of Chile. I don't keep up with all bird books but the only one I know that uses Ringed Storm-Petrel is the recent Clements and Shany travesty for Peru.


Are people losing the point here? As in: Hornby's Storm-Petrel is an ENGLISH name, and to the best of my knowledge the languages in South America are predominantly Spanish and Portuguese. The Spanish and Portuguese names can be WHATEVER they want (or should we tell them what to do?), but now they tell us what to use for English names?


And the adjective "ringed" is not uniquely attributed among storm-petrels - it could be equally well applied to Nesofregetta fuliginosa, as shown by the photos on p. 97 of Enticott and Tipling's Seabirds of the World. This PC stuff has gone a little far. In a forthcoming guide to the tubenoses of North America I will be calling Oceanodroma hornbyi the Hornby's Storm-Petrel. I suggest changing back to Hornby's from Ringed before any permanent "damage" is done.


Steve N. G. Howell, December 2006


NOTE from Remsen: A similar proposal previously did not pass -- see Prop. 91 for additional material




Comments from Jaramillo: "YES - As I mentioned in the previous version of this argument, Hornby's is the only name I have ever used for this creature. It is well entrenched in the seabird literature, and was used by previous works on the birds of Chile (where the species likely breeds). I have even heard Spanish-speaking Chilean birders refer to the thing as "El Jornbi" even though the official Chilean name is "Golondrina de Mar de Collar" equivalent to Collared Storm-Petrel. I do think that Hornby's has a very long tradition, it is well entrenched, and Ringed to me seems like something that was invented out of the blue for no good reason. To me this is quite a different situation from the Masatierra - De Filippi's issue."


Comments from Robbins: "[NO]. Because of this proposal, the Committee clearly needs to develop a policy when deciding to reconsider decisions that have been firmly made. In this case, the Committee unanimously decided (Proposal 91) that the name Ringed Storm-Petrel was an appropriate English name. Typically, records committees do not reopen past decisions unless there is compelling new information. If we use similar criteria, then what is new about this proposal? Nothing. If we plan to open up all past proposals, then I would like to revisit the English name for Neopipo, given the obvious confusion that occurred in making a final decision. How about those whitestarts?"


Comments from Stiles: "NO. I see nothing to induce me to change my vote on this one. No new evidence except entrenched conservatism (?).. Ringed is appropriate and descriptive (nobody says that it has to be the only ringed storm-petrel and it is the only ringed one in our area) and in recent decades has been used as widely as Hornby's."


Comments from Zimmer: "NO". As noted by Mark, the SACC unanimously voted for "Ringed Storm-Petrel" over "Hornby's Storm-Petrel" for reasons that were well elucidated at the time. I see nothing new in this proposal to warrant a change from our earlier vote. In fact, I find the entire tone of the proposal a bit arrogant and condescending. In the course of a few thin paragraphs, we are not only lectured to, but are accused of 1) hypocrisy; 2) losing the point; 3) being PC; and 4) doing permanent damage. In between, the author manages to blow off Eugene Eisenmann, dump on Clements & Shany, get in a dig at any South Americans who might dare to think they should have a say in English names, and let us all know that regardless of what we decide, that he'll do whatever he pleases with the name anyway. As a serious, well-reasoned proposal, this one is pretty weak, but the author does do an efficient job of insulting the maximum number of people in a minimum amount of space."


Comments from Nores [not an official vote on English names]: "NO. No estoy de acuerdo en cambiar el nombre de Ringed Storm-Petrel a Hornby´s Storm-Petrel para Oceanodroma hornbyi. Las razones dadas por Manuel Plenge en la propuesta No. 91 son convincentes y pienso que no es necesario cambiar un nombre adecuado."


Comments from Remsen:  “NO, barely.  Although I share Howell’s disdain for the Eisenmannization of many English names of Neotropical birds, and would personally prefer to almost all of them reversed, I think this one is now too entrenched in W. Hemisphere, with a track record of 40 or so years, to go back.  I also am missing whatever point Howell is trying to make on the name being an English name – it’s not as if we were changing it to “Anillado”.  Was it because a Spanish-first speaker Manuel Plenge submitted the original proposal?  Anyway, Hornby remains commemorated in the scientific name, and “ringed” describes the bird well with respect to almost all other storm-petrels.  However, I appreciate the point that the seabird people like and continue to use Hornby’s, and that they are the primary users of the English name, so this is a close call for me.”