An American bird has been given a new name because the old name belonged to an officer in the Confederate army.
Captain John P. McCown is the naturalist who first collected the species in 1851. The bird was named for him. It has been common practice to name birds after the person who first described them for science.
McCown’s longspur is now the thick-billed longspur. The action was taken by the American Ornithhological Society (AOS).
There are 149 other American birds named after people. There is a push among some birders to replace all honorific names.
A new naming policy is being considered by the AOS.