Topics

Capitalization of bird names

photohutch
 

Hi all,

I know this isn't a sighting, but I was collaborating on an article and a disagreement popped up regarding capitalization of bird and animal names. Should their proper names be capitalized (Red- shouldered Hawk) or not (red-shouldered hawk)? Is there a definitive methodology, or is it a mixed bag?

Birder's World and WildBird magazines both capitalize, while Audubon and National Wildlife don't. Ironically, Audubon's website actually has an article stating that bird names should be capitalized, but the magazine neglects to do so. I am so confused. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Best and happy birding!

Steve
Alamo, CA

Ted Robertson
 

Hi Steve,
I've done my fair share of writing and scientific editing and the
names of birds should be capitalized when using their full common
names, so Red-shouldered Hawk is correct. If you were just referring
to a general category of birds such as hawk, sparrows, or woodpeckers
(for example), caps would not be used. This convention only applies
to the common names of birds, not to mammals, herps, or plants at
this time. Plants and mammal common names are in lower caps but this
rule is not universally followed.

Hope this helps,
Ted


On Apr 15, 2010, at 12:25 PM, Steve Hutchcraft wrote:

Hi all,

I know this isn't a sighting, but I was collaborating on an article
and a disagreement popped up regarding capitalization of bird and
animal names. Should their proper names be capitalized (Red-
shouldered Hawk) or not (red-shouldered hawk)? Is there a definitive
methodology, or is it a mixed bag?

Birder's World and WildBird magazines both capitalize, while Audubon
and National Wildlife don't. Ironically, Audubon's website actually
has an article stating that bird names should be capitalized, but the
magazine neglects to do so. I am so confused. Any help would be
greatly appreciated.

Best and happy birding!

Steve
Alamo, CA

Ted Robertson
Environmental Programs Director
Phone: (510) 642-4087
Fax: (510) 642-1055
tedr@...

Lawrence Hall of Science
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-5200

url: http://www.lawrencehallofscience.org







[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

lowensvi@sbcglobal.net
 

Hi Steve,
Usually, it's a style question and depends on the editor and publication. There is no need to capitalize common names, but many people do.

Best,
Lisa





________________________________
From: Steve Hutchcraft <steve.hutchcraft@...>
To: EBB_Sightings <EBB_Sightings@...>
Sent: Thu, April 15, 2010 12:25:26 PM
Subject: [EBB_Sightings] Capitalization of bird names


Hi all,

I know this isn't a sighting, but I was collaborating on an article
and a disagreement popped up regarding capitalization of bird and
animal names. Should their proper names be capitalized (Red-
shouldered Hawk) or not (red-shouldered hawk)? Is there a definitive
methodology, or is it a mixed bag?

Birder's World and WildBird magazines both capitalize, while Audubon
and National Wildlife don't. Ironically, Audubon's website actually
has an article stating that bird names should be capitalized, but the
magazine neglects to do so. I am so confused. Any help would be
greatly appreciated.

Best and happy birding!

Steve
Alamo, CA

Glen Tepke
 

I'll try to get a response in before our moderator declares this thread off-topic and shuts it down. For what it's worth, the American Ornithologists' Union and the Clements Checklist, the taxonomic authorities for North America and the rest of the world, respectively, that most American birders follow, i.e., the groups that assign the "official" names for birds, both capitalize English names.

I think one good reason to capitalize is to distinguish between the name of a particular species and a descriptive name that could apply to multiple species. For example, Short-tailed Hawk is a particular species, but short-tailed hawk could refer to several species with relatively short-tails, including Red-shouldered Hawk and Red-tailed Hawk. Gray Flycatcher is a particular species, but gray flycatcher could refer to any flycatcher that is more or less gray in color, such as Dusky Flycatcher and Hammond's Flycatcher, as well as Gray Flycatcher.

Glen Tepke
Oakland

----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Hutchcraft" <steve.hutchcraft@...>
To: "EBB_Sightings" <EBB_Sightings@...>
Sent: Thursday, April 15, 2010 12:25:26 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: [EBB_Sightings] Capitalization of bird names

Hi all,

I know this isn't a sighting, but I was collaborating on an article
and a disagreement popped up regarding capitalization of bird and
animal names. Should their proper names be capitalized (Red-
shouldered Hawk) or not (red-shouldered hawk)? Is there a definitive
methodology, or is it a mixed bag?

Birder's World and WildBird magazines both capitalize, while Audubon
and National Wildlife don't. Ironically, Audubon's website actually
has an article stating that bird names should be capitalized, but the
magazine neglects to do so. I am so confused. Any help would be
greatly appreciated.

Best and happy birding!

Steve
Alamo, CA













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Jaan Lepson <lepson@...>
 

Not to mention black birds, blackbirds, and Blackbirds.


Jaan Lepson
Livermore

On Thu, April 15, 2010 1:21 pm, Glen Tepke wrote:

I think one good reason to capitalize is to distinguish between the name
of a particular species and a descriptive name that could apply to
multiple species. For example, Short-tailed Hawk is a particular
species, but short-tailed hawk could refer to several species with
relatively short-tails, including Red-shouldered Hawk and Red-tailed
Hawk. Gray Flycatcher is a particular species, but gray flycatcher could
refer to any flycatcher that is more or less gray in color, such as Dusky
Flycatcher and Hammond's Flycatcher, as well as Gray Flycatcher.


Glen Tepke
Oakland



----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Hutchcraft" <steve.hutchcraft@...>
To: "EBB_Sightings" <EBB_Sightings@...>
Sent: Thursday, April 15, 2010 12:25:26 PM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: [EBB_Sightings] Capitalization of bird names


Hi all,


I know this isn't a sighting, but I was collaborating on an article
and a disagreement popped up regarding capitalization of bird and animal
names. Should their proper names be capitalized (Red- shouldered Hawk) or
not (red-shouldered hawk)? Is there a definitive methodology, or is it a
mixed bag?

Birder's World and WildBird magazines both capitalize, while Audubon
and National Wildlife don't. Ironically, Audubon's website actually has an
article stating that bird names should be capitalized, but the magazine
neglects to do so. I am so confused. Any help would be greatly
appreciated.

Best and happy birding!


Steve
Alamo, CA














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To unsubscribe go to: EBB_Sightings-unsubscribe@...
To contact the list Administrator go to:
EBB_Sightings-owner@...
Yahoo! Groups Links






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To unsubscribe go to: EBB_Sightings-unsubscribe@...
To contact the list Administrator go to:
EBB_Sightings-owner@...
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--
Jaan Lepson

University of California
Space Sciences Laboratory
7 Gauss Way
Berkeley, CA 94720-7451