top of page
articles

Name That Bird: Peter Alden's Proposed Alternatives

Experienced in Naming Birds, Author Peter Alden Presents Some Options


What do you do when inclement weather has you housebound? For most people, curling up with a book, doing a puzzle, or binge-watching tv shows fill the time. Not for Peter Alden. On a rainy day he's busy coming up with alternative bird names for the 150+ species that the American Ornithological Society (AOS) had designated to be-named (see previous blog post).


"This is an opportunity to provide more descriptive names which will help experts and novices alike", says Peter. If you've ever been out on a field trip with him, he's quick to point out the color, name, and some identifyable marker or trait.


Peter has developed and submitted his initial list of alternatives to the AOS. Plus he will be giving a presentation on this topic next month at the reknowned Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival. His talk will cover the need for this change and focus on several dozen affected Florida species. The pros and cons for each new name candidate will be discussed and then voted on by the audience.


A few examples are presented below, along with the submission list. Photos courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


Ross's Goose Proposed New Name: Small-billed or Nunavut Goose

Similar Species - Left Photo: Ross's Goose | Right Photo: Snow Goose


Wilson's Plover

Proposed New Name: Thick-billed Plover

Similar Species - Left Photo: Wilson's Plover | Right Photo: Piping Plover


Clark's Grebe

Proposed New Name: Orange-billed or White-lored Grebe

Similar Species - Left Photo: Clark's Grebe | Right Photo: Western Grebe


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


Suggestions for new English names of North American Birds


Provided by Peter Alden and Simon Perkins | December 1, 2023


The American Ornithological Society and the American Birding Association are proposing to eliminate modifiers of common bird names which are named for people. This would involve changing the names of about 150 of the 1134 bird species that regularly occur or are known as vagrants from elsewhere.


There are previously published alternate English names for some. The majority of these 150 or so will require a discussion on the merits of newly proposed modifiers. There is often no unique field mark to create a simple new descriptive modifier within that group name. We must consider names based on geography, habitats, heart of their range, habits and vocalizations.


The following suggestions are offered into any compilation of proposed new names. Sequence of families/species follows July 18, 2023 ABA Checklist.


#

Current English name:


Alternative Name(s)

1

Ross's Goose

>

Nunavut/Small-billed Goose

2

Steller's Eider

>

Little/White-headed Eider

3

Stejneger's Scoter

>

Siberian Scoter

4

Barrow's Goldeneye

>

Crescent/Teardrop/Purple-headed Goldeneye

5

Gambel's Quail

>

Desert Quail

6

Montezuma Quail

>

Sierra Madre/Sky Island/Dotted Quail

7

Erkel's Spurfowl

>

Black-fronted Spurfowl

8

Clark's Grebe

>

Orange-billed/White-lored Grebe

9

Vaux's Swift

>

Little Gray Swift

10

Rivoli's Hummingbird

>

Eye-spot/Sierra Madre Hummingbird

11

Anna's Hummingbird

>

Rose-headed Hummingbird

12

Costa's Hummingbird

>

Desert/Ocotillo Hummingbird

13

Allen's Hummingbird

>

California Hummingbird

14

Xantus's Hummingbird

>

Baja Hummingbird

15

Ridgway's Rail

>

California Rail

16

Wilson's Plover

>

Thick-billed Plover

17

Temminck's Stint

>

Pale/Horizontal Stint

18

Baird's Sandpiper

>

Long-winged/Short-grass Sandpiper

19

Wilson's Phalarope

>

Upland Phalarope

20

Kittlitz's Murrelet

>

Glacier Murrelet

21

Scripp's Murrelet

>

California Murrelet

22

Craveri's Murrelet

>

Baja Murrelet

23

Cassin's Auklet

>

Dusky Auklet

24

Sabine's Gull

>

Tundra Gull

25

Bonaparte's Gull

>

Spruce/Tern-like Gull

26

Ross's Gull

>

Rosy/Wedge-tailed Gull

27

Franklin's Gull

>

Prairie Gull

28

Belcher's Gull

>

Humboldt Gull

29

Heermann's Gull

>

Rasa Gull---(90% breed on that Island)

30

Forster's Tern

>

Masked Tern

31

Salvin's Albatross

>

Bounty Albatross

32

Wilson's Storm-Petrel

>

Antarctic Storm-Petrel

33

Swinhoe's Storm-Petrel

>

Japanese Storm-Petrel

34

Leach's Storm-Petrel

>

Bounding Storm-Petrel

35

Townsend's Storm-Petrel

>

Socorro Storm-Petrel

36

Tristram's Storm-Petrel

>

West Pacific Storm-Petrel

37

Murphy's Petrel

>

Polynesian Petrel

38

Fea's Petrel

>

Cape Verde Petrel

39

Zino's Petrel

>

Madeira Petrel

40

Cook's Petrel

>

Aotearoa Petrel (New Zealand's Maori name)

41

Stejneger's Petrel

>

Fast Petrel

42

Bulwer's Petrel

>

Point-tailed/Wedge-tailed Petrel

43

Jouanin's Petrel

>

Indian Ocean Petrel

44

Parkinson's Petrel

>

Black Petrel

45

Cory's Shearwater

>

Yellow-billed Shearwater

46

Buller's Shearwater

>

Pied/New Zealand Shearwater

47

Newell's Shearwater

>

Kauai/Hawaiian Shearwater

48

Bryan's Shearwater

>

Mysterious Shearwater

49

Audubon's Shearwater

>

Tropical Shearwater

50

Barolo Shearwater

>

Macaronesian Shearwater

51

Brandt's Cormorant

>

Blue-pouched/Buff-throated Cormorant

52

Cooper's Hawk

>

Round-tailed/Feeder Hawk

53

Steller's Sea-Eagle

>

Kamchatka Sea-Eagle

54

Harris's Hawk

>

Bay-winged/Cooperative Hawk

55

Swainson's Hawk

>

Prairie/Pampas Hawk

56

Lewis's Woodpecker

>

Crow/Silvery Woodpecker

57

Williamson's Sapsucker

>

Pine/Black Sapsucker

58

Nuttall's Woodpecker

>

California Woodpecker

59

Nutting's Flycatcher

>

Thorn Forest Flycatcher

60

La Sagra's Flycatcher

>

Flat-headed Flycatcher

61

Couch's Kingbird

>

Veracruz Kingbird

62

Cassin's Kingbird

>

Slate-chested Kingbird

63

Hammond's Flycatcher

>

Gray-throated Flycatcher

64

Say's Phoebe

>

Ranch/Tawny-bellied Phoebe

65

Bell's Vireo

>

Riparian/Streamside Vireo

66

Hutton's Vireo

>

Oakwood/Kinglet Vireo

67

Cassin's Vireo

>

Pacific Vireo

68

Steller's Jay

>

Blue-black/Long-crested Jay

69

Woodhouse's Scrub Jay

>

Western/Highland Scrub Jay

70

Clark's Nutcracker

>

Silver/Rockies/Pine Nutcracker

71

Blyth's Reed Warbler

>

Woodland Reed Warbler

72

Middendorff's Grasshopper Warbler

>

Fan-tail Grasshopper Warbler

73

Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler

>

Skulking Grasshopper Warbler

74

Pallas's Leaf Warbler

>

Yellow-crowned Leaf Warbler

75

Bishop's Oo

>

Molokai Oo

76

Bewick's Wren

>

Riparian/Streamside Wren

77

Bendire's Thrasher

>

Cholla/Pale-billed Thrasher

78

LeConte's Thrasher

>

Sandrunner/Roadrunner Thrasher

79

Townsend's Solitaire

>

Juniper/Buff-winged Solitaire

80

Bicknell's Thrush

>

Tree-line/Mountain-top/Hispaniolan Thrush

81

Swainson's Thrush

>

Spectacled Thrush

82

Naumann's Thrush

>

Dusky Thrush

83

Sprague's Pipit

>

Prairie Pipit

84

Pallas's Rosefinch

>

Frosted Rosefinch

85

Cassin's Finch

>

Pink Mountain/Rockies Finch

86

Lawrence's Goldfinch

>

Yellow-winged/California Goldfinch

87

Smith's Longspur

>

Buffy Longspur

88

McCown's Longspur

>

Thick-billed Longspur 

89

McKay's Bunting

>

St. Matthew/Ghost Bunting

90

Pallas's Reed Bunting

>

Siberian Reed Bunting

91

Botteri's Sparrow

>

Yerba Buena/Shy Sparrow --- YB=Good Tall Grass

92

Cassin's Sparrow

>

Skylark/Aerial/White-tipped Sparrow

93

Bachman's Sparrow

>

Pinewoods Sparrow

94

Brewer's Sparrow

>

Great Basin Sparrow

95

Worthen's Sparrow

>

Coahuila Sparrow

96

Harris's Sparrow

>

Black-faced/Canadian Sparrow

97

Bell's Sparrow

>

Chaparral Sparrow

98

LeConte's Sparrow

>

Sedge Sparrow

99

Nelson's Sparrow

>

Orange-chested Sparrow

100

Baird's Sparrow

>

Prairie Sparrow

101

Henslow's Sparrow

>

Tall-grass Sparrow

102

Lincoln's Sparrow

>

Buff-chested/Dot-chested Sparrow

103

Abert's Towhee

>

Arroyo/Black-faced Towhee

104

Bullock's Oriole

>

Cottonwood/Western Oriole

105

Audubon's Oriole

>

Mexican/Lemon Oriole

106

Scott's Oriole

>

Yucca Oriole

107

Brewer's Blackbird

>

Ranch Blackbird

108

Brewster's Warbler

>

Massachusetts Warbler

109

Lawrence's Warbler

>

New Jersey Warbler

110

Swainson's Warbler

>

Leaftosser/Rufous-crowned Warbler

111

Lucy's Warbler

>

Mesquite/Rusty-rumped Warbler

112

Virginia's Warbler

>

Canyon/Yellow-chested/Southwest Warbler

113

MacGillivray's Warbler

>

Western Brush/Split-ring Warbler

114

Kirtland's Warbler

>

Jack Pine Warbler

115

Grace's Warbler

>

Pine-Oak/Ponderosa Warbler

116

Townsend's Warbler

>

Masked Warbler

117

Wilson's Warbler

>

Black-capped Warbler

118

Morelet's Seedeater

>

Mexican Seedeater

Read About the Project on the American Ornithological Society website.



bottom of page