Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Capitalization of Bird Names

I've never quite known what the proper format was for capitalizing the names of bird species. I was under the impression that no species were capitalized, unless the word was a proper noun, i.e. Baird's Sandpiper or American robin. From looking at my post below, I can see that I have been inconsistent. I capitalized "Black-legged Kittiwake" in the second "St. Lawrence at Tadoussec" paragraph, but kept "semipalmated sandpiper" and "semipalmated plovers" in lower case.

Thanks to this site from Audubon, now I know that the formal rule is that all species names should be capitalized. Therefore, my below post should read "Semipalmated Plover" and "Semipalmated Sandpiper." I was correct, however, in keeping the "legged" in "Black-legged Kittiwake" in lower case.

I will try to follow this format from now on.



John B. said...

The odd thing is that this rule only seems to be followed by birders. A lot of academic journals, for example, use lowercase for the English names. Newspapers also tend to use lowercase.

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