Bulk Adding of Common Names


Was wondering if there was a method to bulk add common names for organisms.

What I am currently doing is going to species and adding its “Local common name” in Hindi, Transliterated English and adding to each specific locations.

As an example
I have a list of say some 350 bird names already with this transliteration and the local names in the local language. But the prospect of Individually navigating to each species and adding the data seems daunting and also very time consuming whereas it would , probably, be a simple job to just upload the data with the correct paramenters

Scientific Name Local Name, Language, Location 1, Location 2 etc.

I understand the first step would be to access a list of the “species” and make sure the correct names appear against the current and correct Scientific Name.

Any advise, tips would be helpful.


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There is a bulk upload template here – see the Instructions tab at the bottom for details.


@jwidness - thank you

Am taking the liberty of asking some follow up questions

  1. What is meant by source in this regard. What kind of “sources” are acceptable for common names. Esp one that may be very regional. How does one cite a common name that does not appear anywhere else except in oral traditions.
***Make a separate file for each source of common names.*** Each file of common names must come with a citation, preferrably one with a URL that we can use to spot check some of the names. We will not batch import names without sources. Each file should only include names from a single source.
  1. The template does not have any column for “location” . Being Common names some of them are quite specific to say either a State or County. How does one include that.

  2. The document names say that the taxon names should also match. So how does one download the latest / accurate taxon names. (I could download say all the bird species observed in the state - but that may or may not cover all the species for which common names may / may not be available)


you can get the monthly-generated iNaturalist Taxonomy DarwinCore Archive, which includes separate files for each set of common names: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/inaturalist-taxonomy.dwca.zip.

it doesn’t look like there are many names set up for Hindi, and even fewer that are set up with India as the place ID (which i think is the only way to get them to show up properly until Hindi is more fully translated).

to check on taxonomy between DarwinCore Archive exports, you could use the API to see taxa in bulk. for example, here are all the taxa within the genus Murraya. if a local Indian name exists, it will show up in the Common Name column: https://jumear.github.io/stirfry/iNatAPIv1_taxa.html?preferred_place_id=6681&taxon_id=123748&per_page=100

Am seeing this in the instructions

If you are adding names are specific to a place and not a lexicon, e.g. English names that are only used in Canada, not the US or the UK, please include the URL of the place in question when submitting this file.>

So does it mean for each common name (say I have multiple common names) I would need to make a separate file for each location

# House Sparrow Passer domesticus

  1. Common Name in Lexicon Hindi - - गौरैया - Location India
  2. Common Name in Lexicon Hindi - - ग्यांर - Location Uttarakhand, India
  3. Common Name in Lexicon Hindi - - ग्यांर - Location Pithoragarh County, Uttarakhand, India

Kindly note that the name in 1 refers to the common Hindi name applicable only to the hindi speaking parts of India. That is spread across multiple states. Would then it be better to have this refined further to have the common name individually identifed to the “many” hindi speaking states


Thank you - will follow this up

I’ve asked staff to respond to this, please give them a little time.

I think you can instead use the same format as for Conservation Status – a column with iNaturalist Place ID. To find the ID number for a place, you can add .json to the URL, e.g. https://www.inaturalist.org/places/uttarakhand.json.

I think the easiest way to check that your taxonomy matches is to create a new list and upload your scientific names. It will help you try to find matches, even on unaccepted names.

It might be worth adding some details about how common names and places work and you can consider how that applies to your situation.

Since there is no site translation for Hindi, the only way for a user to have Hindi names display across most of the site is for both the name and the user to have the exact same place setting.


Importantly, an account set to a descendent place will not display the name for the ancestor place, it will display the global default. So an account set to Uttarakhand will show House Sparrow, not गौरैया because there is currently no name for Uttarakhand.

However, once a common name is entered, anyone can use that common name in searches, regardless of their place or language settings.

Are you sure about this ?

There are plenty of species with common names set to be used in Canada. If I set my use names from to Canada, I see the Canadian names. Likewise if I set it to the Canadian province of Ontario, which has no common names set to be used in it, but is a child of Canada, I still see the Canadian names.

Hm, didn’t work for the one I tested it on…

Can you give some examples that work for you?

Use names in place set to Canada

Use names set to Ontario (note the native to string has changed to reflect this)

Use names set to Denmark - use the global spelling of gray vs. the Canadian spelling of grey in the 2 above

@cmcheatle thanks for pointing that out, I filed a bug report here: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/common-names-fail-to-use-ancestor-places-when-running-the-site-in-another-language/23125

@ram_k I amend my previous statement – users with accounts set to state/county level will see the country level name if either (1) the bug I reported gets fixed or (2) the site gets translated to Hindi and the user is running the site in Hindi

For small amount of names, like your 350 bird names I should add the names and common names as a batch to checklist ( e.g. like https://www.inaturalist.org/check_lists/4306125-Friese-namen-checklist ) and export the checklist as a csv-file. The matching species will remain for small lists. You can convert this csv like the template mentioned above: https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/which-lexicon-to-use-frisian-or-west-frisian/20679/2

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Thank you

Thank you

As of now I am adding the Local English Common Name , the local common name in English, and the local common name in Hindi with appropriate locations.

Am hoping whenever the hindi happens the names will show up - till then will anyway keep adding the names

If names are collected from oral traditions, we recommend publishing something online covering who, how, and where. It can be something informal like a blog post or iNaturalist journal post, but you may want to consider sharing with some kind of more formal language repository for posterity. The idea is to be able to point to additional context for the origin of the names.

When it comes to bulk imports, yes, each place should have a separate file of names.

In this example, what is the difference between 2 and 3? You should not need to specify the same common name and lexicon for Pithoragarh County (3) because it is in Uttarakhand (2). Maybe I am missing something here?

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Thank you for more specifics

will address only your last query here

The state if Uttarakhand is divided into two administrative regions (Kumaon / Garhwal)- whose originals are cultural . The state also has multiple languages and dialects. In this case the common name for the House Sparrow in Pithoragarh District (Kumaon) would / may differ from the common name in say the in a district in Garhwal

Secondly even within Kumaon there are difference s in local names.

So in order to keep that granular data I could choose to have the common name (which may be different than in the example) to show a different name in the county along with the more common name across the state.

Kindly note that inaturalist does not have provisions to accommodate the Administrative divisions of Kumaon and Garhwal.

Hope this helps

Yes, thanks for the additional context around the cultural and linguistic diversity of Uttarakhand.

I see what you mean about the missing administrative levels of Kumaon and Garhwal in iNat between Uttarakhand and Pithoragarh (and others), which makes this even more complicated.

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