On Thu, 29 Dec 2011 22:58:28 +0000 Sam Stutter <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > Since relocating my conculture, I've been going about cataloguing the > sorts of wildlife my Nỳspèke speakers will come across. What I'm > finding difficult is, what level of species detail would a language > go into? > > What causes "crow", "rook" and "raven" to be differentiated > by species and all the finches and owls not to be? There are various factors: 1. Visibility. We see more corvids than owls, because the latter are largely nocturnal. 2. Appearance. A magpie cannot be confused with a crow or rook. 3. Behaviour. As the old saying goes, "If you see a flock of crows, they're rooks; if you see a rook, it's a crow." 4. Song. Few people get to see a nightjar, but the sound is unmistakable.