Dozens of birds renamed over concerns of 'racism and misogyny'

Dozens of birds renamed over concerns of 'racism and misogyny'

Many different types of American birds are to be renamed from next year, as some of the current names have been deemed offensive.

In total, 70 to 80 birds from the US and Canada will be given a new name by the American Ornithological Society (AOS).

The society has vowed to change all names of bird species that are currently named after people, as well as any other bird names that have ties to “racism and misogyny”.

Their aim is to create a more inclusive environment for birdwatchers.

In the year 2020, the organisation renamed a bird that was previously named after Confederate Army General John P McCown.

“There is power in a name, and some English bird names have associations with the past that continue to be exclusionary and harmful today,” said the organisation’s president, Colleen Handel.

Birds that will be renamed include Wilson's warbler and Wilson's snipe. Both were named after Alexander Wilson, a 19th Century naturalist.

Other birds facing a rebrand include the Bachman's Warbler, named after slave-owning priest John Bachman and the Hodgson’s Frogmouth named after colonial administrator and naturalist Brian Houghton Hodgson.

The society are hoping the new names will better reflect the birds' feathers and other characteristics.

The new names that will come into effect next year, will be much more descriptive.

About six to seven per cent of the total bird species in North America will be renamed from 2024 onwards.

A committee will be made to oversee the assignment of the new names, and the public will also reportedly be involved in the decisions.

"This committee will broaden participation by including a diverse representation of individuals with expertise in the social sciences, communications, ornithology, and taxonomy," the AOS said in a statement.

CEO Judith Scarl said: “Exclusionary naming conventions developed in the 1800s, clouded by racism and misogyny, don't work for us today, and the time has come for us to transform this process and redirect the focus to the birds, where it belongs.”

Earlier this year, the National Audubon Society declared that it would not change its name.

Critics have called for a rebrand since John James Audubon, the man after whom the organisation is named, was part of a family that owned slaves.