• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Racist' bird names banned by Sweden

The Local · 20 Feb 2015, 10:53

Published: 20 Feb 2015 10:53 GMT+01:00

Four different bird species which include the word "neger" ("negro") have been renamed using "svart" ("black") instead. 
 
Other feathered creatures known as "swifts" in English will no longer be called "kaffer" in Swedish. This word, which can also be spelt "caffer" and "kaffir" is a racist term that has been used by white South Africans towards black South Africans. 
 
So white-rumped swifts will now be known as "vitgumpseglare" in Swedish.
 

The dabbling duck formerly known as "Hottentott Teal". Photo: Peet van Schalkyrk/Flickr
 
"Hottentott", a species of dabbling duck is also being renamed because the word "Hottentot" is a derogatory term for a group of indigenous people called the "Khoikhoi" living in South Africa. The term is thought to refer to their language, which includes clicking sounds.
 
"Zigenarfågel" which translates as "gypsy bird" will take the name "hoatzin", the English word already used to describe a type of tropical pheasant found in swamps and forests.
 
"We haven't had an official list of what all the birds in the world are called in Swedish until now, we just had an unofficial list put together about ten years ago," Anders Wirdheim Information Officer at Sweden's Ornothological 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," he added.
 
The full list of Swedish bird names was completed three weeks ago after several years of research and includes translations for 10,709 different species.
 
Story continues below…
Bird watching is a popular hobby among nature-loving Swedes. Around 17,000 are members of Sweden's Ornothological Society and the group estimates that a total of 30 to 40,000 people across the country participate in the sport on a regular basis.
 
There has been little debate about the name changes in the Swedish media, although plenty of bird fans have been tweeting photos or drawings of the animals in question.
 
"I thought it would be a few reactions, but there have not been so many," Erling Jirle a researcher at the University of Lund and bird enthusiast told Swedish newspaper Sydvenskan.
 

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Swedes shell out for season's first lobster
Meet Pontus Johansson and his lobster. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT

Best not to look at the price tag.

Witnesses 'afraid to talk' to police about Malmö shooting
Police investigating the shooting in Malmö. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

Police are appealing for witnesses to a shooting which killed a man and injured three in a residential street of Malmö – but it is an uphill battle.

Opinion
Swedish leaders need to be prepared for tech challenges
Will robots take over your jobs? Photo: Eric Piermont/AP

Will your job still exist in ten years' time? How will society and businesses adapt to the advancements that are on their way?

Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape'
Tech star Tayyab Shabab, who is being threatened with deportation. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Swedish politicians are keen to talk up the country's startups – but their migration rules threaten to strangle them, argues The Local's managing editor James Savage.

Startup heavyweights back tech ace told to leave Sweden
Spotify founder Daniel Ek is one of the big tech names backing Tayyab Shabab (right). Photo: Ingvar Karmhed/SvD/TT & personal

Major names in the tech community have rallied behind a developer who was told he must leave Sweden within a month due to an admin error made by his former employer.

Why Sweden could deport hundreds of refugee children
A home for lone refugee children in Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Several hundred lone refugee children could now be sent home from Sweden due to a change in how the rule on exceptional circumstances is applied when making asylum decisions.

Rare and horny ox spotted looking for ladies in Sweden
The ox in question. Photo: Pia Jäderberg

Unfortunately he isn't likely to be successful.

Russian bombers spook Sweden-bound flight
A Russian Tupolev bomber not related to the story. Photo: STR/TT

A flight bound for Stockholm from Reykjavik got a nasty surprise last week when its pilot spotted two Russian bombers from his window.

One dead after Malmö drive-by shooting
Police cars outside the hospital where some of the people shot were taken. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

UPDATED: One of the four men injured in a drive-by shooting in Malmö has died, police confirmed on Monday.

In pictures
How a Swedish hotel reunited this bear with his best friend
The bear having a croissant for breakfast. Photo: Kristoffer Kinnunen/Hotel Avalon

A Gothenburg hotel's attempt to track down the owner of this lost teddy bear turned into something much bigger.

Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Gallery
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Politics
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Blog updates

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
Gallery
People-watching: September 9th-11th
The Local Voices
Shakib, 23, works and pays taxes — but will Sweden let him stay?
National
Watch this Swede roll his kayak without spilling his beer. Respect.
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,962
jobs available