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Tory island flycatcher

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  • Tory island flycatcher

    Comments welcome


  • #2
    For me a 1s fm Collared. White onto edge of p3, new greater coverts. Note also general grey hue, pale collar, and almost white blaze on forehead.

    Edited image attached.

    Brian S
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Brian S; May 29th, 2012, 02:05 PM. Reason: original links not working


    • #3
      Originally posted by pariah View Post
      Certainly looks interesting! Are any possible without DNA?


      • #4
        Totally agree Brian and indeed a very striking looking bird. More photos on Brent Stephenson's blog at:


        • #5
          I note that the bird is now being called a 1-s male, but this would be in a 1-s plumage I have never seen before - all I have ever seen have extensive body moult into normal black male-type plumage, but with retained coverts/remiges/rectrice. These photos are strange and I can see why it might be being called a 1-s male, but how does this explain the non-male-like new coverts and tertials? Here's a 1-s male Collared - and here

          Maybe Ben Sheldon might be able to help?

          Brian S
          Last edited by Brian S; May 30th, 2012, 04:13 PM.


          • #6
            Hi Brian

            Never seen a male collared like that. That's based on trapping breeding males in Sweden (probably 500+ over the seven years I was there). Of course, it is possible that a male that did not undergo normal pre-breeding moult might not attract a mate, in which case we'd not have been likely to trap him! On the other hand, this bird looks like it has undergone a pre-breeding moult, because the reason we think it is a first summer is that - as you say - there is obvious contrast between the newer feathers on the mantle and in the GCs versus the older-looking feathers in the PCs and primaries. Hence, it it was a male it would have to undergone a really aberrant pre-breeding moult. I'm not saying it never happens, but I haven't seen anything like it before. The forehead patch and collar are well within the range for females. One minor caveat is with age. Ficedula flycatchers can undergo quite extensive pre-breeding moults, which can give the appearance of moult limits even in adults. The character we used to use to age breeding females was the shape and wear of the primary coverts. For what it's worth these don't look especially indicative of first summer to me, and in some of the photos at:
            they seem to be rather rounded-tipped. Compare for example with these typical first summer PCs on two birds from Stephen Menzie's blog:


            The first summer female is particularly nice as it has adult and first year PCs in the same wing. Hence, for me it is a female, but I would not be completely confident about the age.




            • #7

              Many thanks for your reply, pretty much my own thoughts.

              Oh, and welcome to surfbirds forum.

              Brian S


              • #8

                I'm used to see very small primary patches in 2cy Collared Fly's. Tory Island bird seems to have rather large patch indicating older female.



                • #9

                  You may be right, as Ben alluded to and this is a 3cy, but I downloaded this image on my computer (downloaded off the net years ago from Sweden?). Labelled as a 1K (1cy) fm it has a large primary patch.

                  Brian S
                  Attached Files


                  • #10
                    I find this bird rather abberrant, and I have a hard time to accept this one as a 2cy female. To start with, the mere existance of a moult contrast does not prove the bird as a 2cy since also adult birds regularly include a number of GC in their partial pre-nuptial moult and, hence, shows a moult contrast. Because of that, it is necessary to assess the wear of the feathers that wasn't included in the moult, and I agree that primaries, pc and the unmoulted GC looks worn enough to indicate a 2cy bird. But that is also where problem starts with sexing the bird:

                    - I don't think I have ever seen juvenile female primaries with such extensive white bases. They reach very far beyond the pc-tips, and also seem to cover both p3 and p4.
                    - The bird seem to show jet-black upper tail coverts.
                    - The bird seem to show blackish rectrices.
                    - The plumage is abberrantly cold grey, almost lacking any brownish hues. In several photos the grey plumage seem to ghost the pattern of a regular male with a white collar bending up behind the ear coverts.
                    - The moult contrast is easily detected. This is primarily because the inner (new) GC's are distinctly darker (cold and dark grey). In females the moult contrast is usually not this easy to see in field because also the pre-nup GC's are similarly brownish.

                    In 2cy males Pied Flycatcher, grey individuals are found on a regular basis. I'm not quite sure if the same goes for Collared (if so, it must be much rarer than in Pied). However, uncommon/abberrant or not, I would consider this to be a 2cy male (at least until better photos arrive). [The age is essential in this discussion. Ageing is, however, not always straight forward, and the photos are not easily assessed in that matter. For that reason it could be wise to leave a reservation for the possibility that we are mis-judging the wear, and that the bird still might be 3cy+. In that case it would be less difficult to accept the bird as a female.]



                    • #11
                      Hi all,

                      Finders account from Robert Vaughan here, with some rather good sketches.


                      Great discussion. Learning a lot here on collared fly ageing/sexing. Keep it coming.



                      • #12
                        Apparently I missed some of the preceding postings. Ben's note concerning the primary coverts combined with the fact that some of the images show pimaries that seem to be less worn than expected in a 2cy bird makes me turn towards a 3cy+ as well...

                        Brian - the photo of the Swedish autumn bird is a bit small, but are you sure it isn't a 2cy+? Besides having very large white primary bases, the tertial pattern looks more adult type.


                        • #13
                          Just posted pics on the blog of a 3rd cy male Pied Flycatcher (ringed) which has the mix of brown and black looking feathers above similar to 2nd cy in the field.

                          Enjoying the informative discussion.




                          • #14
                            Hi all!

                            Having gone through all posts links and photos available of the irish bird I'm more and more cinvinced we are dealing with a 3cy+ female.

                            - Primaries look fairly dark/blackish with distinct and extensive primary patch. Juv primaries tend to show slightly less white on bases (difference very obvious in males but less pobvious in females).
                            - Retained outer GC (after pre-nuptial moult in winter) have post juv pattern. Indicating that no juvenile feathers are found on the wing -> adult (3cy+).

                            - Terial pattern as well as GC pattern resembles the female type rather than male type.
                            - I never saw a grey "morph" collared male (do they even exist?). Do anyone have a reference to such a bird?
                            - Comparing with grey "morph" pied flycatcher, these males allways show the usual tertial and GC pattern of an ordinary black and white pied flycatcher even if the rest of the upperparts are grey. If the irish bird was a male somehow, extensive white on GC and tertials should be visible, just like ordinary collared males have.

                            Some references:

                            Grey morph pied (note amount of white on tert and GC even if this male is very grey (singing in another pic proving the sex)).

                            2cy male collared (note pattern of tert and GC.

                            3cy+ female collared (note pattern of retained, outer GC for age comparison with the irish bird)

                            2cy female collared (note juv type retained GC as well as less extensive and distinct primary patch)


                            Best regards


                            • #15
                              Aron and Magnus

                              Thanks for your posts, they are very informative and educational. Aron has posted the wing of a 3cy female, is it possible to see the whole bird as I am learning something new; I too would like to see a grey morph male Collared if they exist.

                              [Aron, welcome to surfbirds forum]

                              Brain S