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  • Taiga Flycatcher

    In November last I was in eastern India (Kanha and Bandhavgarh), where I was lucky enough to see many Red-breasted Flycatchers Ficedula parva and Taiga Flycatchers F. albicilla (also known as Red-throated Flycatcher). Actually, Red-breasted out-numbered Taiga and I saw a number of lovely male Red-breasted with red throats (!). However, I was especially surprised to see two male Taiga with very bright orange-red throats, almost as bright as on males I had seen in China in Spring. Surprised because for some reason I had in my mind that Lars Svensson had stated that male Taiga did not develop such red throats in winter.

    This slipped out of my head (like so many things do nowadays) until checking through the many photos of reported Red-breasted flycatchers appearing Hong Kong recently (go to http://www.hkbws.org.hk/phpBB2/viewf...ef0725c8037343). There, on one photo, was a distinct but comparatively small and faintly orange throat on a male Taiga ( http://www.hkbws.org.hk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=3388 ). So I checked up on Svensson’s statement.

    Actually, Svensson (Birding World vol.12 p.462) says ‘most (all?) adult male albicilla moult into a female-like plumage during the winter months. Old males collected from October or November to about late February or March either lack an orange-red throat or have a much reduced one’. The male in HK clearly fits into this picture, but was not as bright or as obvious as on the two birds I saw in India. Has anyone else seen or photographed male Taiga Flycatchers in winter with bright orange throats? I would be interested to hear or to see any photos.

    Brian S

  • #2
    Brian I also noticed that while checking Taiga ID. after having seen 11 Ficedula "parva" this autumn in Sicily and noticed that couple were sowing exaclty mixed characters and can't figure out what theyactually were... (one even was doing both type calls and responding to Taiga play-back)...

    Its identification, chielfy concerning variability and possible intergrades should be widely and freshyl investigated...

    Thanks for the very informative mail you posted

    Andrea Corso
    ________
    ROLL A JOINT
    Last edited by macrourus; September 2nd, 2011, 01:48 PM.

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    • #3
      Here is another image in November of an adult male Taiga Fly with an orange throat

      http://www.orientalbirdimages.org/bi...216&pagesize=1

      Those I saw in India were stronger coloured than this, almost approaching this bird

      http://www.orientalbirdimages.org/bi...216&pagesize=1

      Brian S

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Brian S View Post
        Here is another image in November of an adult male Taiga Fly with an orange throat

        http://www.orientalbirdimages.org/bi...216&pagesize=1

        Those I saw in India were stronger coloured than this, almost approaching this bird

        http://www.orientalbirdimages.org/bi...216&pagesize=1

        Brian S
        Hi Brian

        I almost posted that link of the Nov bird last night!

        I can't open the links in your first post but I imagined you were referring to birds with fuller colour than the Nov bird, as you confirmed later.

        I don't have anything substantial to add and I haven't actually seen many in winter at all - plenty in spring / summer etc. Those I have seen, have been typical non-breeders and not like the birds you are referring to. It would be good to see some more pix of birds with the fuller throat colouring, if at all possible.
        OBC John Peel Awesomeness
        The little things they make me so happy, all I want to do is live by the sea...

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        • #5
          Forktail

          HKBWS is back up and working now.

          Brian S

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          • #6
            I have little to add on the above birds.
            But if we're at it, please have a look at the potential 1st for Israel recorded in April 2007:

            http://www.israbirding.com/israelbir...y=0&order=time

            As you may see, this is a somewhat problematic bird, as its uppertail coverts are not jet-black but rather a duller brownish - black.
            There are several interesting views in the link, and I will be very happy to get more opinions from memebrs of this forum, as the IRDC hasn't decided on this bird yet.

            Yoav Perlman, Israel

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            • #7
              Ciao Great Yoav,

              I think indeed I can't see anything on your bird to tell us is NOT albicilla...

              Only may be a bit wrong is the eye ring being strongly pale and well defined and marked also above eye whereas is usually not the case in most albicilla where lower part of the ring should be whiter, more marked and striking compared to higher part, while in parva the eye ring is more complete, also in front of the ey against lores, and on upper part of the eye. Anyhow I find some exception to this.

              Also, regarding the uppertail coverts, indeed these are not JET black but yet quite blackish and you should consider these are not really fresh, therefore they are sun-bleached and also abraded !!!!

              Then, even conisdering the some odd and intermediate birds we've seen in Sicilian Channel this autumn and then on skins/photos study I've done., your bird seems to be quite typical-.

              All the best and congratulations with all your finding.

              I'm missing our time in IIsrael and look forward to may come back again in near future

              Ciao

              Andrea Corso
              ________
              HEADSHOP
              Last edited by macrourus; September 2nd, 2011, 01:48 PM.

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              • #8
                Yoav

                I had a quick look at specimens at Tring with Paul Leader and I would suggest that the bill structure and colour is typical of albicilla. The plumage would seem good, though the uppertail coverts are (surprisingly) not jet-black as one would like, though there is variation.

                This seems fine to me as Taiga.

                Brian S

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Brian S View Post

                  This seems fine to me as Taiga.

                  Brian S
                  Hi Brian et al

                  some readers may not be aware of this link from Nial Moores' site. It's useful

                  http://www.birdskorea.org/Birds/Iden...lbicilla.shtml

                  atb
                  F.
                  OBC John Peel Awesomeness
                  The little things they make me so happy, all I want to do is live by the sea...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by macrourus View Post
                    Also, regarding the uppertail coverts, indeed these are not JET black but yet quite blackish and you should consider these are not really fresh, therefore they are sun-bleached and also abraded !!!!
                    Andrea et al. - thanks for your replies.
                    Even though I am very eager to have this potential first for Israel on my name (the fame, the glory, the fan clubs, you know...), I am still worried by the uppertail coverts. Yes, they should be very worn in late spring, but the first for Britain (Flamborough) had jet black uppertail coverts in a similar period. Is there a possible difference between males and females? Is this difference in the uppertail coverts possible within a normal range of variation or might it suggest that my bird had some parva genes?
                    Last edited by Yoav; February 9th, 2008, 06:37 PM.

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                    • #11
                      A single bird in UK does not means that all retain fully jet black uptail cov.
                      However, we should investigate variability within the species and cross the seasons...

                      I'll go to TRING for several reasons in late February or March and may check for you or may do it Brian that is far closer than me to Tring :-)

                      (Brian, if I'll come there may be we may also meet and go together or just have a glass of Sicilian vino rosso that I will bring with me :-)

                      ANyhow, even if there is a gene influx, when a bird looks like a species, and MOSt but a single characters are in favour of that species, then is mere speculation to talk about any possible gene influx...

                      If it looks exact?ly like, then it could be called this or this other... otherwise wre will do DNA Birding ...

                      Ciao
                      Andrea
                      ________
                      HOW MFLB WORKS
                      Last edited by macrourus; September 2nd, 2011, 01:48 PM.

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                      • #12
                        I read with interest the comment by Andrea about the bird on Sicilly giving both types of call. Does anyone know if this is a regular thing?

                        I'm familiar with both calls but was puzzled in Oman last Oct when birding the sewage works on Masirah island I heard both calls coming from a very dense patch of scrub which contained at least 3 birds views were generally poor but all I could see were parva. I believe that albicilla has never been recorded in Oman so it would make sense if parva utters both call types.

                        Garry

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                        • #13
                          Just bumping this up to see if anyone replies to my query this time!

                          Garry

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                          • #14
                            Hi!
                            Interesting question! I'm afraid I have nothing to add personally...

                            While at the subject, please have a look at the URL below. This shows a 2cy male caught in SW Sweden during the end of may. A tricky nut to crack!

                            http://www.artportalen.se/artportale...&imageID=77131

                            Although most parva and albicilla are easily told apart, there seems to exist a small fraction of more difficult birds that need attention. Personally I would not feel safe in accepting the record from Israel linked above.

                            Regards
                            /Magnus Hellström

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                            • #15
                              about the bird from jerusalem

                              Hi Yoav and everyone,

                              As you already mentioned, there is a problem with the upper tail coverts being not Jet-Black as expected from albicila. This already means we are dealing with a-typical bird (regardless if some birds can be a-typical in that respect). The complete and white eye-ring and the lack of white throat are both examples of more a-typical features of this bird if it's indeed an albicila. I think that in this case your bird shows too many a-typical features, thus falls into the unidentified category, and for sure it will be a problem to accept it as a first with great certianty.

                              Best
                              Barak

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