Devonian's picture

Black-headed Gull

Observed: 22nd January 2012 By: DevonianDevonian’s reputation in BirdsDevonian’s reputation in BirdsDevonian’s reputation in Birds
Black-headed Gull
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No interactions present.


Devonian's picture

Chroicocephalus ridibundus

Appreciate the details of the re-classification.

Larus ridibundus was provided by "Get Recommended" and the EOL still uses this binomial. Is some updating needed here? and how do we check that the recommended scientific names are current?

Syrphus's picture

I have dealt with this

I have dealt with this extensively twice in recent posts. See for the main comment.

The dictionary that lies behind iSpot (and NBN and other applications) is managed by the Natural History Museum and is updated periodically. That is outside the powers of iSpot.

Meanwhile, I repeat my view that it is unreasonable to override the name provided by the system, a name which not everyone likes to use but which is in no sense wrong. My advice? Stick with Larus if you want. Use Chroicocephalus if you can spell it. But please don't override the first with the second.



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ophrys's picture


I suggest we replace 'Black-headed Gull' with the more correct "Laughing-one-with-the-coloured-head". That's what the new name means.


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Martin Harvey's picture


Just to clarify this if I can. As mentioned above, the list of species names that iSpot uses is taken from the NBN species dictionary, which is maintained by the Natural History Museum. However, our version is a couple of years old now, and we do not update it as frequently as the NBN 'master copy' gets updated. Updating the dictionary on iSpot is a fairly big task, and when we next do it we will need to ensure that there are no unintended consequences for users of the site. I can't promise when an update will be done, but it is on our wish-list of developments for the site.

Even if we did have the latest version of the dictionary there would no doubt still be debate in some cases over which name is the best to use! In terms of how iSpot works, I would recommend that you use the names that are in the species dictionary, i.e. picking them off the list or using "Get recommended", rather than typing in a name yourself (even if your name is more up-to-date). This is simply because the links to other observations, and to the NBN and EoL, work best with names taken from the dictionary as it currently stands.

It can of course be helpful to let people know if a name has been changed recently, but I would say that it's best to do that in one of the comment sections rather than adding it as a new identification.

This has been a useful discussion, and I'll get the main points added to our FAQ list later this week:

Entomologist and biological recorder

Devonian's picture


Thanks Martin for your explanation of the issues relating to the use of scientific names. Certainly the suggestion to note the new binomial in one of the comment boxes seems to address the problems relating to having identifications agreed with, yet disagreed with. Perhaps this brings us as close to a resolution as is possible until the Natural History Museum brings its dictionary up to date.

Appreciate the clarification,