Racist Bird Names Banned In Sweden

| by Michael Allen

Sweden's Ornothological Society is changing the names of four species of birds because the present scientific titles have been deemed racist.

Anders Wirdheim, a spokesperson at the society, told The Local:

"We kept getting more and more questions from translators of Swedish TV programmes and books wanting to know what exactly different bird names were or meant, so we decided to compile a list and while we were doing that we decided to change the names of any birds that could have stirred up a debate."

Bird species that include "neger" have been renamed to "svart,” which means means “black” in Swedish.

Birds that are classified as “swifts" in English were called "kaffer" in Swedish, but that word has been dropped because a similar word "kaffir" is a racist phrase used to describe black South Africans by white South Africans.

Swifts will be renamed "vitgumpseglare" in Swedish.
A species of duck called "hottentott" is being changed because that word is used to insult to a group of indigenous people in South Africa. However, it’s not clear what new phrase will replace "hottentott.”

The Swedish phrase ”zigenarfagel" means "gypsy bird" in English, so it will be changed to ”hoatzin,” presumably to avoid offending gypsies. reports that the final list of bird species includes 10,709 names. There are 17,000 members in the bird society.

Sources:, The Local
Image Credit: Petey21