*Who* is responsible for such preposterous names? Names which are their own worst parody? A few are charming, most I want to mumble when talking to non-birders, awkward as a teenager who has to introduce his klutzy, tag-along kid brother to his guffawing buddies. Bristle-thighed Curlew indeed. Good god.
More seriously, where Europe/Asia & N. America share a species (don't bogart that bird, my friend...) there seems to no consistency. Herring Gull is the same on either side of the Atlantic but Larus canus is Mew Gull here, Common Gull there. With a species such as Pluvialis squatarola, for example, why don't we use the name which has been in existence longer and would presumably have precedence: Grey Plover instead of Black-bellied? Or Long-tailed Duck rather than the somewhat offensive Oldsquaw (and-to quote someone or other-not a word about political correctness, he said icily. Not. One. Word.).
And, hey, while we're at it, why *not* rejig the Stercs from jaegers into skuas? It's not like we'd all have to adopt plummy Brit accents to say these names, although the image of a bunch of birders at the settling ponds all talking like Jean-Luc Picard is just too good not to run through a bunch of mental cartoon sequences....
Is there any reason(s) for the difference in colloquial names? And when name changes are proposed, is done in secret conclave, like choosing a Pope? Or, to reprise gently the thesis implicit in the introductory remarks, could the AOU use some help from the wider public in originating names?