Australian Magpie

The common name used in Australia has been changed to just “Magpie”. I don’t know anyone who casually calls them “Australian Magpies” and I think it only really gets used in more technical documents. If you have thoughts one way or the other you can tap them out here - it can always be changed back.


Happy with the change, agree 100% re usage

you can create “extra” vernacular names, and even assign them as preferred for a location. It is also a good idea to raise a flag on the taxon to discuss taxon issues, as not everyone uses the forums, although I think you can do vernaculars without discussion as long as they are straightforward.

Same goes for NZ, it’s not as though we have any other sort of magpies.

There are some people (presumably in NZ) that keep changing some of the default New Zealand common names to the “New Zealand xyz”, that’s fine for the global name, but I don’t think anyone born in the country calls them that. Very strange.

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I use “zeal king” as a shortcut to our kingfisher, but I think that vernacular was always that way. I’m wondering if i’ve set any that way myself, but I honestly can’t remember! I am certainly not opposed to it!

Yes the ID system should put matching local common names up first, so entering kingfisher should offer the NZ (one and only) kingfisher at the top of the list when using iNat through the NZ portal. I just entered “Karo” for a tree ID, and got offered as the first suggestion “Parkinsonia florida” for which we have 0 observations in NZ, instead of the NZ native plant. That sort of thing just makes iNat harder to use for newbies.

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although it does offer opportunities to engage and connect! soz, trying to look on the positives :)

The problem with adding a name like ‘Magpie’ is it goes against one of the guidelines on using common names which is not to add the same name to multiple differing species.

I don’t know if it has been removed or just not done, but there is nothing stopping an entry of Magpie being entered for Pica pica (which of course folks in Europe just call a Magpie) or for Pica hudsonica (which of course us folks in North America just call Magpie generally) etc.


We’re talking about just setting the common name for a particular place, not changing global common names. So US etc can have their own ‘magpie’ etc with no conflict.

(to my mind the idea of having common names is so that people can just enter what they commonly call the species in their locality, and have iNat translate that to a suitable taxon)


I understand that, the problem is that the vast majority of American users do not set their place names setting to the US, they don’t have to because the overwhelming percentage of default names are the US ones.

So either right now you can add ‘Magpie’ as name for the American species which will have no effect other than to result in 2 things being returned called Magpie if they search for that and still requiring them to pick the right one.

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For what it’s worth, I take direct issue with that particular guideline. At least in plants, the same common name is frequently used for more than one taxon. I would rather have the iNat common names reflect real usage, than go through artificial gyrations to avoid having any duplicates.


@reiner, for taxon-specific discussions, it’s best to use a flag than to post on the forum.

If we want to discuss common names, common name places, or site policies generally, that’d be a different can of worms to open elsewhere. ;)

It was not my intention to comment on the appropriateness of the guideline, rather simply to restate what it is.

In fact the guideline specifically speaks to a similar situation as an example - don’t enter ‘hawk’ for multiple hawk species.

Understood, and I hope you will forgive me for taking advantage of your restatement to vent a little bit. Definitely not directed at you personally! And I’ll take @bouteloua’s advice and not post further on it here.

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I am new to iNaturalist but not new to natural history. After using the site for a couple of days, I have come across the following (or it maybe that I am not doing something properly).
The Australian Magpie ( Gymnorhina tibicen) comes up as simply “Magpie”. This can be confusing as the Australian Magpie is not really a magpie (Pica) at all.
Please can the admins (or whoever) look into this please.

welcome to the forum David

Currently, both of these names, ‘Magpie’ and ‘Australian Magpie’, are attached to Gymnorhina tibicen:

You’re seeing ‘Magpie’ appear as this is currently set to be the priority name for Australia; G. tibicen is just referred to as ‘magpie’ in Australia, and indeed I don’t think I have ever heard anyone call it ‘Australian Magpie’ in Australia.

But if I log out of my account, and check the species page, it appears as ‘Australian Magpie’, because that name has been set to the top priority from a global perspective, to avoid confusion as you say.

As I already said above, this is not the case in common vernacular. Of course ‘Australian magpie’ shows in Wikipedia and Google Scholar, as those are international forums, where differentiation from Pica is necessary. But in day-to-day interactions in Australia, I have never heard it called Australian magpie. If you were to do a straw poll of 1000 random Australians on the street, showed them a photo and asked them to name it, almost 100% would say magpie. To me, this is the literal definition of a common name.

There wasn’t any recent change, the name has been ‘magpie’ for Australia for a long time now.

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from a 2 minute search online, I can already find at least 10 books about the Australian magpie that refer to it as ‘magpie’ only in the title and throughout the book

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