Why Are American Birds Being Renamed? Exploring The Renaming of American Birds!

by Moore Martin

Why Are American Birds Being Renamed

American birds are being renamed to eliminate offensive and exclusionary names, rectify historical biases, promote inclusivity in birding, and celebrate the unique characteristics of the birds themselves.

The Drive for Change

American birds are undergoing a process of renaming as part of a concerted effort to rectify historical biases and make the world of birding more inclusive and welcoming. The initiative, spearheaded by the American Ornithological Society (AOS), is driven by the need to eliminate names that are considered offensive and exclusionary. Many bird species in the United States and Canada were originally named after individuals whose legacies, particularly with regard to racism and misogyny, have become sources of discomfort for some.

A Broader Societal Shift

The decision to rename these birds signifies a broader societal shift towards reevaluating and changing names and symbols tied to individuals with controversial backgrounds, aligning with a growing recognition of the importance of promoting diversity and inclusivity across all facets of life, including the realm of bird-watching. This renaming effort also aims to shift the focus away from historical figures and instead celebrate the birds themselves, emphasizing their unique characteristics and natural beauty.

Encouraging Public Involvement

By removing potentially offensive or exclusionary names and involving the public in the process of proposing new names for these bird species, the AOS hopes to encourage more people to engage with bird-watching and take part in bird conservation efforts. This initiative underscores the significance of addressing historical biases and fostering a more inclusive atmosphere within the field of ornithology, ultimately working towards the preservation of avian species that are facing alarming population declines in North America.

What’s on the Renaming List?

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) has not provided an official list of specific bird names that will be changed as part of their renaming initiative. Instead, the AOS has announced its intention to review and rename bird species whose names are considered offensive, exclusionary, or associated with historical figures with problematic legacies, particularly related to racism and misogyny.

The exact list of bird species to be renamed will be determined through a process that involves public input and expert committees. Therefore, the specific names of birds to be changed are not yet publicly available, and the renaming process is expected to unfold gradually as the initiative progresses.

The Power of Names

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) has launched an initiative with the goal of eliminating offensive and exclusionary names associated with American bird species. This renaming effort seeks to address a historical legacy of naming conventions that have caused discomfort for some individuals and promote greater inclusivity within the birding community. Many bird species in the United States and Canada were originally named after historical figures, some of whom held controversial views or legacies that are no longer acceptable in today’s more diverse and inclusive society.

The AOS initiative highlights the power of names and their potential to create a more positive and inclusive environment for bird enthusiasts of all backgrounds. By involving the public in suggesting new names for these bird species and shifting the focus from historical figures to the unique features and beauty of the birds themselves, the AOS aims to make bird-watching a more welcoming and diverse activity. This initiative reflects broader societal trends where names and symbols linked to problematic historical figures are being reevaluated and changed to better align with contemporary values and principles of diversity and inclusivity.

A Significant Number

The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is set to initiate the renaming process for a significant number of bird species in the United States and Canada. While the exact number may vary, the AOS plans to initially change the names of approximately 70 to 80 bird species that have been linked to historical figures or have names considered offensive or exclusionary. This marks the beginning of a more extensive effort to transform the nomenclature of bird species and align it with contemporary values of inclusivity and diversity, with the potential for further species to be considered in the future as part of the renaming initiative.

The Timeline

The renaming of bird species by the American Ornithological Society (AOS) is scheduled to commence in the near future, with the official initiative expected to kick off next year. The AOS plans to initiate the renaming process for a selection of bird species primarily found in the United States and Canada, starting with approximately 70 to 80 species.

While the exact timeline may vary for individual species, the broader effort to rename these birds is part of a longer-term endeavor to make birding more inclusive and welcoming by eliminating offensive or exclusionary names. This proactive step by the AOS reflects a growing awareness of the importance of addressing historical biases and promoting diversity in the field of ornithology.


1. Why are American birds being renamed by the AOS?

AOS is renaming birds to eliminate offensive and exclusionary names and promote inclusivity in birding.

2. Which bird species’ names are being changed?

The specific species are not listed, but those with names tied to problematic legacies will be considered.

3. When will the renaming of bird species begin?

The initiative is expected to start next year, with no exact timeline for individual species.

4. How many bird species will be initially renamed?

Approximately 70 to 80 bird species will be renamed initially.

5. What are the goals of the renaming initiative?

To celebrate the birds themselves and shift focus away from historical figures, making birding more inclusive and diverse.

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