Bird french names

I would like to know where the bird french names come from. I am currently writing a paper to promote iNaturalist here in Québec and I noticed several names wrong (eg. Grivette fauve instead of Grive fauve) or missing in French.

Is there a procedure to point out these errors?

As director of QuébecOiseaux, which brings together Québec ornithologists and birdwatchers, I might be interested in helping out if necessary to ensure the consistency of the french names with the official lists. I already collaborate with eBird on this point.

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Unfortunately, it is often not possible to answer what the source of a name is, as no documentation or sourcing is required, or even enabled as functionality for that matter, to enter a name.

If something is missing in French, all users, including yourself can add a new name by just going to the relevant page, going to the taxonomy tab and using the Add a Name link.

If something is already entered, then it can only be edited by a curator. So for example Grive fauve is listed as a french name for Veery, but it is a lower priority name (if more than 1 name is entered per language, they are rank ordered). In this case, your only option is to use the flag for curation option, again on the taxa page, and ask a curator to change it.

Editing of common names is blocked for non-curators unfortunately because of edit wars that were taking place.


Oh thanks! I just did that for Catharus fuscescens, for which the french name Grivette fauve doesn’t exist anywhere outside iNat. I’ll do the same for the others.

But i’ll be long because there are a lot of problem with french names (capital letters or unknown names).



By default the site always displays all common names in capital case. How it is entered in the actual text box isn’t really enforced in any way as again this was subject to constant debate and edit wars.

It is not really something I would flag as it will simply get edited again by a curator who agrees/disagrees that common names should be capitalized. That’s why the site went to a standard display format regardless of how it is entered in the list of names.

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Can’t wait to read those debate and edit wars? :wink:

To my knowledge, the use of the capital letter is consensus in the french taxonomy, at least for birds. The generic name takes a capital letter and the specific name takes a lowercase letter (Grive fauve instead of Grive Fauve), except when the generic name is place after the specific (eg. Grand Héron, Petit Blongios).

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I don’t think you will find them on this forum, the decision to go to the standard display format was made before this particular forum was launched, and the debates exist on the old deprecated Google Groups site.

You may think it is a consensus (I did too), you will have plenty of folks to tell you how wrong you are…

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You may also wish to use the name adding tool to prioritize names for Quebec/ Canada (if Acadians, Francophone Ontarians and Manitobans agree with the name, too). There are probably a lot of names for introduced species from Europe that are not now used here.