Having spent a week in Kuwait, one of the many highlights was great views of quite a few male Caspian Stonechats variegatus, but only one male Siberian maurus and one male European rubicola and one possible male Armenian armenicus.
Amongst the males were several females and I felt given the preponderance of male variegatus that these females were likely to be of this form too. The views they gave were excellent and confirmed what I had noted at Tring, that they show no white at the base of the tail in field views and therefore are indistinguishable from maurus.
I checked 'Stonechats' (Urquhart and Bowley, 2002), but this caused me a bit of confusion as the description and illustrations show quite prominent white on female variegatus. However, my images from Tring suggest this not to be the case and also this series of fine in-hand photos (and comments) from Israel tends to back up my feelings - http://nubijar.blogspot.com/2011/11/...tonechats.html. Yoav Perlmann says,
'Females are much more tricky. In the field, the tail of this individual would look completely dark, and would be identified as maurus. However, when the uppertail coverts are moved aside, the white bases to the rectrices (about 10 mm) become visible. This of course is impossible to see in the field. This female seems to fit variegatus too; I'd expect armenicus to have less or no white at the bases of the rectrices. For this reason I believe that many of the European records of 'maurus' females in fact involve variegatus. It would be interesting to compare the ratio of variegatus VS. maurus records in W Europe for males and females.'
Are there any other in-field photos of definite Caspian Stonechat females showing white in the tail? I would be really happy to see them, but if my suspicions are correct, what does this mean for extralimital records of female 'Siberian Stonechat'?