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Mangrove Finch - a request for help

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  • Mangrove Finch - a request for help

    Mangrove Finch - Request for help

    I am currently working on two plates of Galapagos (and associated) finches for HBW. During my research for Mangrove Finch Camarhynchus heliobates, I have come across many disparities with published images and wondered if anyone with more knowledge could help.

    If you look at these links to images you may see that a number of photos look very different. The first two links go to the most recent images from the translocation of finches in 2010, and which have images, which must obviously be Mangrove Finch:- - with an introductory still showing an unmarked bird, but the black bill suggests adult; also, a very interesting video shows marked differences in plumage, with some birds having well-streaked throat and breast and others being virtually unmarked below like Woodpecker Finch C. pallidus. [The video also has a lot of information on the threats to Mangrove Finch] - good quality stills showing streaks on breast and underparts - plus a lot of information on current population (thought to be c.40 pairs at two sites) and the translocation program.

    This link is confusing at the male photographed has plumage features, such as the sooty head and breast patch that looks more like the developing plumage of a male tree finch; can the plumage of Mangrove Finch ever look like this? -

    Finally, an image labelled as a female by RogerAhlmann -

    What it seems is that there are male and female plumages of Mangrove Finch (contra e.g. Swash and Still, 2000).

    Some published images do not fit with published descriptions (both in plumage and structure).

    These photos by Nick Athanas of a bird seen on Fernandina (out of the known range of Mangrove, but at a historical site) have a much more substantial bill and fits a Woodpecker Finch closely -

    Any comments and help would be very much appreciated.

    Brian S

  • #2

    Quite a few of these links do not work (for me). Mangrove Finch is very closely related to Woodpecker Finch and I think some authors suggest they may be synonymous. I saw several Mangrove Finches on Isabella some years ago and these were all relatively greyish-brown birds with black bills. I didn't see any with blackish heads or breasts but have seen at least one lot of photos which show did this. FWIW Nick A's photo does look like a Mangrove Finch to me.

    cheers, alan


    • #3
      It's odd that these links seem to have stooped working.

      Try this for some

      I think that Nick A's finches are definitely Woodpecker Finch and have had feedback from others to confirm that. The bill is too big and the bird looks too bulky structurally.

      Brian S


      • #4
        Hot off the press, just what you need, possibly.

        Guy M. Kirwan


        • #5
          Thanks Guy, this is very helpful.

          I am surprised that they have deemed Nick Athanas's bird on Fernandina as Mangrove as to me it looks more like a Woodpecker Finch - on bill size alone this is speculative.

          Brian S


          • #6
            Originally posted by alan lewis View Post
            I saw several Mangrove Finches on Isabella some years ago and these were all relatively greyish-brown birds with black bills.
            "Overall, Woodpecker Finch is much plainer than Mangrove Finch with a warmer and paler brownish coloration (Figs. 1518). In contrast, all Mangrove
            Finches show a rather darker, often more greyish tone to the mantle and head"


            cheers, alan


            • #7
              Mangrove Finch Camarhynchus heliobates was the last species of Darwin’s finches to be described 13.
              As an aside, how can it be a Darwin's finch if it wasn't described until 19 years after Darwin's death?