New Feature: Common names available in 43 languages plus 35 regional dialects

BOW Team September 3, 2020
Black-bellied PloverPluvialis squatarola

Obviously, multilingualism is important for a global resource like Birds of the World. The Cornell Lab now offers bird common names in 43 languages plus 35 regional dialects – that’s 78 variations in all, including 15 versions for English, 15 for Spanish, and 6 for French!

We most recently installed nine new languages (Arabic, Asturian, Azerbaijani, Catalan, Gallegan, Slovak) plus two additional regional versions of Spanish (for Peru and Paraguay) and one additional version of French, customized for French Guiana. We also have expanded variations of many other languages, and now have complete global namesets for German, French, Japanese, Norwegian, Slovak, Spanish (Spain), and Turkish.

The namesets apply to several other Lab projects, as well, including eBird, the Merlin Bird ID app, the Macaulay Library, among others.

Set your preferred language for common names under the preferences tab of your account on the main eBird site ( 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.

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).

Learn more about these common name datasets and search for your preference here:

Many thanks to our network of partners around the world for helping us develop these alternate common names.

Want to work with us on a set of translations? If you notice errors or your language is missing from this listcontact 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.