Setting your preferred language for common bird names (94 language variations available!)

BOW Team August 18, 2022
Eurasian KestrelFalco tinnunculus

While English (US) is the default language for the text in Birds of the World, readers have the ability to set Common Bird Names to their preferred language. After doing so, the body of each Birds of the World species profile will remain in English, but the common names at the top of each profile will appear in the preferred language. This helpful feature simplifies your ability to search for birds in the search bar and in the Taxonomy Explorer.

This growing set of common bird names currently covers 55 languages plus 39 regional versions – that’s 94 variations in all, including multiple versions for English, Spanish, and French. We most recently installed minor updates for Korean, English versions for South Africa and New Zealand, a Mexican version of Spanish, and added two new languages: Spanish (Honduras) and Portuguese (Angola).

Set your preferred language for common names under the Preferences tab of your account on the main eBird site ( Once this preference is set, the namesets will apply to other Lab projects, including eBird, the Merlin Bird ID app, the Macaulay Library, among others.

We rely on partners and birders all over the world to help us develop these language sets, and in some cases, translations are started but incomplete (meaning not all 10,000+ species have translations). In this case, English common names are displayed by default.

Note that all versions of English – except English (en) and English (US) – use the spelling of “grey” instead of “gray”.  If you prefer to use English (US) but spell “grey” instead of “gray”, English (Malaysian) allows that.

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.