NG Style Manual‎ > ‎- B -‎ > ‎


Common names are lowercase, unless they contain a proper name:
            northern cardinal
            Steller’s jay

Follow the spelling of common bird names in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate or Unabridged dictionaries. 

Generally do not hyphenate compound common names such as sage grouse. Follow standard Style Manual guidelines for hyphenating compounds before a noun:
            red-tailed hawk (the hawks tail is red)
            gray crowned crane (the crane itself is gray, not the crown)

Noun compounds are typically open:
            fish owl                 prairie chicken 
            eared pheasant         storm petrel
            sage grouse 

Some publications may want to follow the naming convention from the American Ornithologists’ Union, which hyphenates terms like sage-grouse. National Geographic’s Field Guide to the Birds of North America, for example, follows these guidelines.