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Thread: A question regarding Arctic Warbler subspecies

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Tucson, AZ

    Default A question regarding Arctic Warbler subspecies

    Hello all,
    I photographed this Arctic Warbler on the Pribilof Islands, Alaska on October 9, 2007. It does not represent the expected taxa, kennicotti, which departs the state by the end of the first week in Sept. The bird appeared noticeably browner above and whiter below than kennecotti and was also more robust and thicker billed. I have been unable to pin down the subspecies this individual likely belongs to, although I am leaning towards examinandus (part of the xanthodryas group). With the current revisions in the taxonomy of the Arctic Warbler complex underway the identification of this bird could be quite interesting. Comments are greatly appreciated,
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  2. #2
    Moderator Brian S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Suffolk, UK


    Mark Brazil (Birds of East Asia, 2009) states, borealis has browner upperparts, pale brown underparts, faintly yellow-washed flanks, and long, slender yellow-white supercilium, slightly finer bill than xanthodryas; xanthodryas has ‘brighter green above, has broader, yellower wingbars and the yellowest underparts (especially flanks), whiter on belly’; kennicotti ‘as nominate but bill finer, shorter and less broad-based, slightly brighter green upperparts and brighter yellow underparts’; Kamchatka and N Kuril birds [examinandus] ‘slightly larger than xanthodryas with heavier bill and less yellowish underparts’. Plus, ‘Those in NE Hokkaido and Sakhalin are slightly smaller than in Kamchatka’.

    BWP states that xanthodryas is brighter greenish olive than borealis on upperparts, ‘without greyish cast’, ‘underparts yellower, wings average longer and bill broader’. Kennicotti, ‘slightly brighter green on upperparts than nominate and has shorter bill’.

    Have a flick through these (none assigned to race as most taken as wintering or passage birds) and see the variability, from apparently grey uppers/white unders to brighter, yellower birds.

    Brian S

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