Racism in the animal kingdom? American ornithologists rename dozens of bird species


The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is about to rename dozens of bird species so that their species names are completely neutral and do not refer to specific people. Some feathered birds in the US and Canada are named after their discoverers or naturalists, sometimes people with controversial pasts or racist views.

Capped woodpecker. Illustrative image

| Photo: Shutterstock

According to ornithologists it’s time for bird names to be based on reality and help better characterize the species, the BBC wrote.

“The custom of exclusive naming developed in the 19th century, when misogyny and racism, and it doesn’t work anymore today. The time has come for us to change this process and focus on the birds themselves, as it should be,” said AOS head Judith Scarlová.

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The professional society is going to allocate about 70 to 80 new names bird species. Specifically, he is going to, for example, a small yellow-colored woodpecker with a cap, which bears the English name Wilson’s woodpecker after the naturalist Alexander Wilson.

Snipe is fattening. Illustrative imageSnipe is fattening. Illustrative imageSource: Shutterstock

The same fate awaits the otava snipe, which in the United States is called Wilson’s snipe.

Renaming has happened before

Some controversial names ornithologists they’ve edited before – for example, in 2020 they removed a reference to Confederate General John McCown’s name on one of the bunting types. It has newly acquired the species name silnozóbý, which refers to its physiognomy.


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