Below is a question I posted on a Birding Forum of which I am a member and also posted it on the SABirdNet mailing list.
I really hope that someone will be able to answer this question.
All the recent name changes seems to confuse many people. For this reason the moderators on the SANParks forum
decided to list both the old and new name, where a change took place.
Someone queried the change of Black-bellied Korhaan to Black-bellied Bustard as to them this bird more resembles other Korhaans than it does Bustards.
When I had a look at a Roberts VII list
I noticed that it seems as if White-bellied Korhaan was also rename White-bellied Bustard although my SASOL 3 indicates that White-bellied Korhaan is now known as Barrow’s Korhaan [Barrow’s (Southern Whitebellied) Korhaan] for which SASOL 3 gives Eupodotis barrowii
as scientific species name while the Roberts VII list gives the scientific name for White-bellied Korhaan as Eupodotis senegalensis
I wonder if anyone possibly know:
1.The reasoning behind the name change of Black-bellied Korhaan to a Bustard. Was it based on taxonomy etc.
2. Why the difference in the scientific names for "White-bellied Korhaan" in SASOL 3 and the Roberts VII list I have.
3. What is the correct "common name" White-bellied Bustard, White-bellied Korhaan or Barrow's Korhaan?
Your help in clearing up the confusion is much appreciated
Below is some of the replies I have received thus far.Reply posted on the Bird Forum
My understanding of the bustard names is this: Replies posted on SABirdNet
Black-bellied Bustard vs Black-bellied Korhaan
All "korhaans" are known as bustards in other parts of Africa regardless of their size. Because the bulk of the Black-bellied Bustard's distribution falls OUTSIDE of our region they have deferred to the name "bustard" instead of "korhaan". Bustards that occur only in our region are called "korhaans" in order to use the locally preferred name.
Initially this bird was split by the Roberts 7 authors and the local race was called Barrow's Korhaan with the northern race which is confined mainly to west, central and east Africa called White-bellied Bustard. Then the split was retracted and the birds were lumped together again and called the White-bellied Korhaan. However, the Sasol fieldguide has resurrected the Barrow's Korhaan race as a distinct species. I personally have a problem with this because if every book author lumps and splits species arbitrarily there will be complete confusion.
As to why they have called the species White-bellied KORHAAN and not a BUSTARD (if you look at the rule I have referred to above) I don't know. I wrote to the Roberts 7 authors querying this some time ago but I never received a reply.
Ian Sinclair is Author 1 of the SASOL Birdguide
Garth Aiston wrote:
From what I know the word Korhaan is only used in Southern African whilst Bustard is used elsewhere in the world. Those birds endemic to Southern Africa have retained the name Korhaan whilst those occurring outside of the region have changed to Bustard.
Ian Sinclair wrote:
E. senegalensis/barrowi. It has been accepted for many years that the Nth and Sth populations of these bustards/korhaans are separate spp and have been treated so by various authors including myself. Those that know them well in the field have never considered them to be the same species because of their very obvious differences.
E. senegalensis known as White-bellied Bustard (throughout its range in Africa) and E. barrowi as Barrow's Korhaan, an endemic to South Africa.
Callan Cohen, who is presently doing a Phd on African bustards will hopefully present molecular evidence to show them to be different spp. He is also of the opinion that they are different spp.
I'm not too sure about the name changes from Korhaan to bustard and I suggest you address this query to Peter Ryan. I suspect those small bustards that are endemic to sth. Africa retain their endemic Afrikaans names because of their endemism and those with more widespread distribution in Africa are called bustard.
Name Changes. I strongly urge you to use both old and new names. I will do this in all my field guides for sth Africa and Africa. I was very reluctant to adopt the new names but did so for the sake of conformity although I'm not too sure the new names will stand the test of time.
As to Ian Sinclair’s comment: “Those that know them well in the field have never considered them to be the same species because of their very obvious differences
I thought I’ll find a photo of E. senegalensis
so that we can compare it to the photo of what now seems to be E. barrowi
which Nico posted. Below is 2 photos. The websites from which I got the photos does not indicated the sex of the birds. The photo on the right is VERY bad but if you compare the photo on the left with either male of female E. barrowi
you will note some differences.