I Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 52(1) March 1995 61 Case 2931 Proposed conservation of nine specific names of southern Afrotropical birds which are junior synonyms P.A. Clancey Durban Natural Science Museum, P. O. Box 4085, Durban, 4000 South Africa R.K. Brooke Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7700 South Africa Abstract. The purpose of this application is to conserve nine widely used specific names of southern Afrotropical birds which are threatened by unused senior synonyms, eight of which were published in the Encyclopaedia Londinensis (1795-1829) edited by John Wilkes. The ninth unused name was published by C.J. Temminck (1807) in his Catalogue systematique du cabinet d'ornithologie. 1. As a result of Rookmaaker's (1989) work on the early history of the zoological exploration of southern Africa, nine specific names of southern Afro-tropical birds in widespread use in the primary and more popular literatures were found to be antedated by long-overlooked synonyms. Eight of these names were published in the Encyclopaedia Londinensis (1795-1829) 'compiled, digested and arranged" in 24 volumes by John Wilkes. It appears (Rookmaaker, 1989) that Wilkes died in 1811; a note at the end of vol. 10 of the Encyclopaedia Londinensis says that the publishers had all the material necessary for completion of the work. There is no evidence as to the identity of the contributors, although Cassin (1867) and Sherbom (1922-1932) attributed the articles on birds to Wilkes in his capacity as editor. The ninth specific name was published by Temminck (1807, p. 85) for "Le Nabirop, ou etoumeau cuivre d'Afrique, Vaill. Ois. dAf v. 2, pi. 89"; Temminck"s specimen was probably presented to him by Francois Levaillant (Rookmaaker, 1989, p. 198). 2. Most professional workers are now totally opposed to changing names unnecessarily, especially in cases such as the present where the recently discovered names have remained essentially ignored since 1820. Reference to the Wilkes names was made by the American worker John Cassin (1867) but his findings seem to have been ignored until the British workers Gregory Mathews & Tom Iredale (1921, p. 143) mentioned two of the names; Motacilla fimbriata Wilkes, 1817 (p. 100), a junior synonym of Stipiturus malachurus Shaw, 1798, and M. tractrac Wilkes, 1817 (p. 89), a senior synonym of Oenanthe cinerea Vieillot, 1818. Their paper resulted in the universal adoption of M. tractrac (now Cercomela tractrac; see Roberts, 1922, p. 231 and Sclater, 1930, p. 456). Curiously, Roberts (1924, p. 174) attributed the specific name to Boie instead of Wilkes, but without explanation.