Language options for species common names
The Cornell Lab offers institutions the ability to choose which language species common names are displayed in Birds of the World. The default setting for common names and the textual content is American English. But institutions can select – at the account level – common names in 43 languages and 35 regional dialects. This includes 15 versions for English, 15 for Spanish, and 6 for French.
While the body of each Birds of the World species profile will remain in English, this feature displays your preferred common name at the top of each profile and allows you to search by this common name in the search bar and in the Taxonomy Explorer.
Institutions can only change the preferred common name display at the account level and this cannot be customized for your users. For example, a research institute in Germany can show all common names in German, which would allow users to search for species by their German moniker, but not its English equivalent.
Because this may be inconvenient for a substantial number of users at institutions with a large international user base, we encourage you to investigate this with your team before you make this switch.
The namesets apply to several other Lab projects, as well, including eBird, the Merlin Bird ID app, the Macaulay Library, among others.
How to set preferred language
Learn more about these common name datasets and search for your preference here: https://support.ebird.org/support/solutions/articles/48000804865.
Set your preferred language for common names under the preferences tab of your account on the main eBird site (https://ebird.org/prefs). While the body of each Birds of the World species profile will remain in English, this feature displays your preferred common name at the top of each profile and allows you to search by this common name in the search bar and in the Taxonomy Explorer.
Language options: a growing asset
We rely on a global network of partners around the world for helping us develop alternate common namesets.
Where common name preferences are set but translations are incomplete (meaning not all 10,000+ species have translations), English common names are displayed by default. Note that all versions of English (except our master English and English (US) use the spelling of “grey” instead of “gray”. Opt for English (Malaysian) if you want all bird names displayed using our primary common names, but prefer Grey Noddy to Gray Noddy (and other similar changes).
Want to work with us on a set of translations? If you notice errors or your language is missing from this list, contact us and write “Common Name Translations” in the subject line. All our common names are based on the eBird/Clements taxonomy, so upload of names based on a different taxonomy (e.g., IOC) requires significant work and is not simple.