July Meeting

Wed 22 July 2020 07:30pm

Virtual meeting - rescheduled date as above

Leo Joseph - Another instalment in the ongoing saga of: “Australian bird names are all sorted out. Yes? No? Maybe?” Some updates from black-cockatoos, lorikeets, quailthrush, and grasswrens.


The July meeting will again be held online – a virtual meeting or ‘webinar’.  The following is the webinar link:


Participants are encouraged to register at least 30 minutes prior to 7.30 pm.

You will need to have video and sound working on your computer.

During the webinar you will be able to see and hear the presenters but not talk.

Feedback will be via a typed live chat (which has about a 20 second delay).

The meeting is scheduled to last about one hour.


The speaker for this meeting will be Dr Leo Joseph of the CSIRO’s Australian National Wildlife Collection (ANWC) on ‘Another instalment in the ongoing saga of: “Australian bird names are all sorted out. Yes? No? Maybe?”  Some updates from black-cockatoos, lorikeets, quailthrush, and grasswrens.’

In a previous talk to COG Leo tried to show that as ornithologists keep investigating many kinds of scientific questions about birds with new scientific tools for tackling those questions, reasons frequently pop up as to why we need to change scientific names.  Sometimes the reasons boil down to “New data show it is time to break what we can now see was a bad habit”.  Also, the questions we ask may or may not be directly concerned with relationships among birds and the names we use to describe those relationships.  Yet the results often show us how and why changes to scientific names should be made.  So rather than seeing ourselves as being in a time of instability and that that should be seen as a bad thing, Leo always tries to say that we are in an exciting time of learning new things about our birds, and that has to be a good thing.

Leo will give some recent examples of how research at the ANWC and with various colleagues has directed changes in scientific names.  Examples will be from lorikeets, black-cockatoos and grasswrens.  We have some new genera in lorikeets, a new subspecies of a black-cockatoo, and sorting out the species of grasswrens and new subspecies of one of those grasswrens.  If time permits, Leo will try to give a brief summary of how their recent work on the Copperback Quailthrush shines a light on how interesting things can get these days!

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