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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.