List of Alternate Bird Names in BirdLasser – a guide to minimize confusion among bird mappers in Kenya

BirdLasser is a great tool for recording and submitting observations of birds to the Kenya Bird Map project. However, with 3 taxonomy options (Howard and Moore; Clements; and IOC) available in the Regions and Languages settings, some bird names are bound to differ depending on the taxonomy you are using. After testing out all 3 of them, I find Howard and Moore to be the best taxonomic option as almost all of the birds are named in a way that Kenyan birders recognize. (To set your taxonomy to Howard and Moore: simply go to your Settings, click on Regions and Languages, click Taxonomy and set it to Howard and Moore, set Primary language to ‘English (Kenya)’, Secondary language to ‘English Howard and Moore’ and Tertiary language to ‘Scientific Howard and Moore’.)

With that said, some people tend to have their personal taxonomic preferences. So I have compiled the list below to highlight alternative names that some of the birds have based on your taxonomy and language settings. This will minimize confusion when recording birds. Most of these apply when your taxonomy/language is set to Clements or IOC:

Alternate Bird Names on BirdLasser
Common name – Kenya checklist (2009) Scientific name – Kenya checklist (2009) Other name(s) in BirdLasser Comments
Yellow-necked Spurfowl Francolinus leucoscepus Yellow-necked Francolin (Pternistis leucoscepus)  
Marabou Stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus Marabou (Leptoptilos crumenifer)  
Hadada Ibis Bostrychia hagedash Hadeda Ibis/Hadeda  
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Western Cattle Egret  
Black-chested Snake Eagle Circaetus pectoralis Black-breasted Snake Eagle  
Great Sparrowhawk Accipiter melanoleucus Black Goshawk  
Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca Imperial Eagle  
Crowned Eagle Stephanoaetus coronatus Crowned Hawk-Eagle  
Large Plovers Vanellus spp Lapwings E.g. Crowned Plover (Vanellus coronatus) becomes Crowned Lapwing
Feral Pigeon Columba livia Rock Pigeon/Rock Dove  
African White-winged Dove Streptopelia reichenowi White-winged Collared-dove  
African Mourning Dove Streptopelia decipiens Mourning Collared-Dove  
Ring-necked Dove Streptopelia capicola Cape Turtle Dove  
Hybrid Lovebird Agapornis fischeri x personatus _ Missing when taxonomy is set to IOC
Greyish Eagle Owl Bubo cinerascens Grayish Eagle Owl  
Rufous-crowned Roller Coracias naevius Purple Roller  
Northern White-crowned Shrike Eurocephalus rueppelli White-rumped Shrike (Eurocephalus ruppelli)  
Common Fiscal Lanius collaris Northern Fiscal (Lanius humeralis) L. humeralis (Northern Fiscal) and L. collaris (Southern Fiscal) were previously lumped under one species – Common Fiscal – but have now been split. You will therefore notice two options when you type ‘Common Fiscal’ in BirdLasser. Choose the option labeled ‘Northern Fiscal’.  Southern Fiscal is a southern African species that does not occur in Kenya.
Dwarf Raven Corvus edithae Somali Crow  
Plain Martin Riparia paludicola Brown-throated Martin
Common House Martin Delichon urbicum Northern House Martin
Winding Cisticola Cisticola galactotes Rufous-winged Cisticola  
Coastal Cisticola Cisticola haematocephalus Winding Cisticola (Coastal) Considered a race of Winding Cisticola by several authors.
Mountain Greenbul Andropadus nigriceps Eastern Mountain Greenbul  
Grey-chinned Sunbird Anthreptes rectirostris Green Sunbird  
Grey-capped Social Weaver Pseudonigrita arnaudi Grey-headed Social Weaver
Holub’s Golden Weaver Ploceus xanthops Holub’s Weaver  
Zanzibar Red Bishop Euplectes nigroventris Southern Red Bishop (Euplectes orix nigroventris) Lumped with th Southern Red Bishop (Euplectes orix)

P.S. The common and scientific names I have used are based on the Checklist of the Birds of Kenya, Fourth Edition (Bird Committee, Nature Kenya – the East Africa Natural History Society, 2009)Let’s keep mapping and submitting bird records to the Kenya Bird Map. It’s simple, fun and is the least you can do to contribute to the long-term monitoring and conservation of birds across Kenya! ;-)Note that these are just the ones I’ve noticed so far. I’m sure there must be more. If you notice any others, feel free to email me on and I will add them to the list.

– Author: Sidney Shema (Project Manager – Kenya Bird Map) –


6 thoughts on “List of Alternate Bird Names in BirdLasser – a guide to minimize confusion among bird mappers in Kenya

    1. Thanks Sidney. I’m accidentally highlighting the other source of (initial) confusion: the differences between names in BirdLasser and our regional guidebooks e.g. for Zimmermann, you have Reed/Long-tailed Cormorant, Green-backed/Eastern Honeybird, Reichenow’s/Yellow-rumped Seedeater and maybe a few others.

      Liked by 1 person

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