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January 16, 2014
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Never Trust Passerine Nomenclature by Albertonykus Never Trust Passerine Nomenclature by Albertonykus
This comes with the obligatory caveat that the phylogeny of Neoaves is extraordinarily messy (e.g.: whether American sparrows are close to buntings or nested within them), but the general statements here are widely recognized. Some will assert, reasonably enough, that there is no need for common names to adhere to underlying phylogeny, but never let it be said that I never ignore such nuances in favor of achieving a desired effect (either elucidation or confusion in this case depending on your point of view utter confusion).

Want more confusion? This does not even include all taxa known as warblers, robins, and so forth. Here is a more comprehensive list (and includes non-passerine examples).
Add a Comment:
 
:iconspongebobfossilpants:
We "falconiform" experts aren't much better off. The red-tailed hawk is a buzzard, the bald eagle is a kite, etc.
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner 3 days ago
Yup, there's almost no phylogenetic consistency in the common names of raptors.
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:iconthemightybrachiosaur:
Five stars.
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2014
Thanks!
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:iconthemightybrachiosaur:
No problem.
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:iconmyonnyanmukyuu:
MyonNyanMukyuu Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This would be perfect for the "Call a Smeerp a Rabbit" page on TVTropes.
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2014
So it would!
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:iconcypselurus:
Cypselurus Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is amazing. xD 
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014
Thanks!
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:iconcypselurus:
Cypselurus Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're welcome! :D 
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:icongojira5000:
Gojira5000 Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh, passerines, you and your taxonomic mindfuckery. :P
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:iconthearchosaurqueen:
TheArchosaurQueen Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Siamotyrannus isanensis comes to mind =p.
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014
Certainly, among others.
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:iconthearchosaurqueen:
TheArchosaurQueen Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Indeed.
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:iconedaphosauruspogonias:
EdaphosaurusPogonias Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Mammals have similar problems - Golden moles, mole rats, elephant shrews, tree shrews, jack rabbits, Ethiopian wolves, Golden Jackals ect
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:iconmarcoornithodira:
marcoornithodira Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Surprisingly enough, I actually knew about most of that, but I had NO idea Erithacus and friends had been moved from Turdidae. 
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:iconargentavis:
Argentavis Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome pic!
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014
Thanks!
Reply
:iconchocolatestarfire:
ChocolateStarfire Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I can only imagine the state of confusion if we started using common names for paravians as well. =p
Reply
:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014
These are paravians too! =P I get you there though. Matt Martyniuk actually gives common names to Mesozoic birds in his field guide, but they're just direct translations of their scientific names.
Reply
:iconornitholestes1:
Ornitholestes1 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very much like this!
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Thanks!
Reply
:icontyrannotitan333:
Tyrannotitan333 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm pretty sure Australian magpies aren't actual magpies as well, if you want something non-North American.
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Indeed, I focused a lot on birds I'm familiar with and their European namesakes, but as I remarked to Tomo I could have easily muddied things more by adding in Australians.
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:iconshinyaquablueribbon:
ShinyAquaBlueRibbon Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Student General Artist
WOW.  That was actually fun to read, and surprising XD I never knew all that...
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
I was certainly very surprised by many of these when I initially learned of them as well.
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:iconpilsator:
pilsator Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Awesome. I would have scored 3 of 17 points.
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Thanks. Prior to looking specifically into the subject I'd have scarcely fared better.
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:iconpilsator:
pilsator Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Heh. Wonder how this would look like with vernacular names in other languages. I strongly doubt it'd be more consistent with the underlying phylogeny.
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014
I'm curious as well. According to :iconrickraptor105:, German fares pretty well since it gives the American groups their own names rather than planting those of similar-looking European species on them.
Reply
:iconpilsator:
pilsator Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Don't pretend you didn't want to see the rundown ;)

American Sparrows (Passerellidae) are not sparrows (Passeridae).
No German-language internet source acknowleding Passerellidae. Almost of them, however, have vernacular names ending in

-ammer...


They are close to buntings (Emberizidae).
... which really isn't bad, because emberizids are vernacularly known as Ammern.

American buntings (Passerina) are not buntings.
Most Passerina spp. have names ending in -fink, equivalent to finch, which seems to be just as wrong.

They are cardinal grosbeaks (Cardinalidae).
In German, most cardinalid specimens seem to have vernacular terms ending in -kardinal, literally meaning

cardinal (without grosbeak).

The ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla) is not an ovenbird (Furnariidae).
Called Pieperwaldsänger. Fortunately, parulids are called Waldsänger. Furnariids are collectively

referred to as Töpfervögel ("potter birds"), which is another good thing, I guess.

The American redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) is not a redstart (Phoenicurus).
American redstart - Schnäpperwaldsänger. Again, fits with being a parulid. Old word redstarts are called

Rotschwänze, which literally means ... redstarts.

Both are wood warblers (Parulidae), which are not warblers (Sylviidae).
As said above, both are marked as parulids by their vernacular names in German. Sylviids are referred to as

Grasmücken. Kinda weird. Unless you know your ornithological terms, you'd think sylviids were mosquitos going

from their vernacular name in German, but I digress.

The European robin (Erithacus rubecula) is a flycatcher (Muscicapidae)..
Rotkehlchen. Muscicapids are called Fliegenschnäpper, again meaning almost the same as the English

vernacular term.

Tyrant flycatchers (Tyrannidae) are not.
No problem here. Simply Tyrannen. Fairly epic, they're tyrants without their tyrantness being relativized by

having a puny "flycatcher" appended to that.

The American robin (Turdus migratorius) is a thrush (Turdidae).
It's called Wanderdrossel (=migratory thrush). Sounds fair.

Like the European blackbird (Turdus merula).
This guy's simply called Amsel - or, rarely, Schwarzdrossel (=black thrush).

But unlike American blackbirds (Icteridae).
Stärlinge. The closest thing to a translation would be "starling-ling".

Which include American orioles (Icterus).
An American oriole is a Trupial. Sounds like a neologism just for Icterus.

Which are not Orioles (Oriolidae).
No problem here. An oriole is called a Pirol. As I just slipped into typological thinking an not checking what else might be called a Pirol... more on that later.

Tanagers (Piranga spp.) that migrate into North America...
Never heard of them, and, to add insult to injury...

... are not tanagers (Thraupidae)...
... Wiki claims they are.

... but are also cardinal grosbeaks (Cardinalidae).
Given that this is true, they're also mislabeled in German.

I'm quite surprised that German-language vernacular passerine nomenclature really does seem to follow phylogenetic boundaries better than English-language one. However, what would be left to check is where it screws up in places English doesn't.
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014
To explain some of the discrepancies, the members of Passerellidae are often included within Emberizidae. Piranga used to be considered true tanagers, but were reshuffled into Cardinalidae later on.
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014
Thanks for the detailed run-down! (RickRaptor gave one too, but he didn't include all the groups I mentioned.) I, too, wonder where it deviates more than English does.
Reply
:icondinobirdman:
DinoBirdMan Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Student Artist

Tsidii!:B


Note: The word "Tsidii" is from the word "Bird" as in Navajo.

Reply
:iconrickraptor105:
RickRaptor105 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014

Oh you English speaking People and your passerine nomenclature problems we don´t have here  ;)

 

In German, the tyrant flycatchers are called just "Tyrannen (tyrants)", both "American sparrows" and buntings are called "Ammern", all wood warblers including the ovenbird and American redstart are called "Waldsänger (forest singers)" while the many species of old world warblers are either called "Buschsänger (bush singers)", "Laubsänger (leaves singers)", "Rohrsänger (reed singers)" or "Grasmücken" (grass midges... probably a malapropism). American orioles are called "Trupiale" while old world orioles are called "Pirole"; American blackbirds are called "Stärlinge (we don´t confuse them with starlings because true starlings are just called "Stare" in German), the American Robin and the European blackbird are known as "Wanderdrossel (wandering thrush)" and "Schwarzdrossel (black thrush)", through the latter is most often refered to as "Amsel", a name unique to this species (aaand dippers, which are called "Wasseramseln (water blackbirds)"...)

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:iconpilsator:
pilsator Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Dammit, and by just replying to Alb's comment I did pretty much what you did (in a bit more detail) - could have saved lots of time if I had checked out the thread before :)
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Certainly sounds like you've got a much better system there (at least from a phylogenetic point of view). Granted, a lot of the English names were never intended to reflect phylogenetic relationships.
Reply
:iconrickraptor105:
RickRaptor105 Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014
I doubt much phylogenetic thought went into the common names, we simply made up new names for the American birds instead of recycling common names from our European birds :P
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014
Right, didn't mean to imply there was. I wonder if there are examples of species that are closely related to European ones that were given entirely different names based on locality.
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:iconqilong:
Qilong Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014
As I stated on Facebook, as long as we do have one common language for these animals (and we do, it's the Linnaean binomial) then it shouldn't really matter what name their are called in their local regions. It would be more redundant if we had to use some form of common phrasing for different regions with different languages at their hearts for distinct birds, as this increase, not diminishes, confusion. Common nomenclature shouldn't necessarily reflect phylogenetics due to the ontological effect, whereas the Linnaean binomial can and often does.
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:iconmydigitalmind:
mydigitalmind Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
This. Is. Awesome. Well done.
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Many thanks!
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:iconanatotitan:
anatotitan Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Professional Interface Designer
This is brilliant!
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Thanks a lot!
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:icondinogod:
Dinogod Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Love it!
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:iconalbertonykus:
Albertonykus Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014
Thanks!
Reply
:icondinogod:
Dinogod Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You are very welcome :D
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:iconghostinthepines:
GhostInThePines Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Well, you could look at it like you've stated it... or you could just think of it as being that people who pin birds (or other animals and even plants) with common names have no clue what they're doing.

(I once got into an argument on YouTube about whether something was a long-tailed weasel or a stoat when there is no genetic difference between the two animals in the region of the world where the video was shot. They are the same animal in America!)
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:iconcrash-the-megaraptor:
Crash-the-Megaraptor Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
.....my head hurts. ><
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