It is certainly a female, and I have never heard of problems regarding sexing in the field.......the male, as far as I know, is surely as different from the female as depicted in any field-guide illustration?
Perhaps I should have explained better, the individual in question is (I believe) a 1st-summer or 2nd calendar year individual whichever you prefer and as previously highlighted different experienced observers (see the original links) appear to be in disagreement over the sex.
Without doubt a 2cy bird. White-tipped primary coverts + wear in brown first gen primaries and secondaries (all secondaries?). Question remains however, as mentioned by Alan, which sex? The bird was trapped and ringed as a 2cy - female according to some. It would be nice to see some good pic in the hand showing features of mooult and pattern.
Please enlighten me.......I have never heard of a spring (2cy or ad.) bird being difficult to sex.
Your fellow countryman Lars Svensson does not mention any difficulties ( neither in his Identification Guide to European Passerines nor in the Collins Guide) of sexing birds in spring.
Should be a pretty straightforward affair:
A male is a bird with blue-grey upperparts, white supercilium, black cheeks and a narrow white throat-streak (or a broader one) Breast orange or pale ochrous-buff (individual variation)
A female is like the one in the photos without the above-mentioned male characteristics) and with the breast diffusely blotched grey (never orange) and with no white supercilium (or at most a short and ill-defined one, off-white). Head without black
This is what I have picked up during the past 40+ years.....did I miss out on something?
Last edited by JanJ; June 10th, 2011 at 10:02 PM.
Jan, no offense!Peter.
That came out quite wrong, wonder how Iīm going to be able to get around that
Your 40+ didnīt miss out - at least not on this one. Of course the bird is a 2cy female. Would be nice to see the requested pic. anyway, if there are any?
When I can't remember a name or a fact I thought safely embedded in my mind (happening all the time these days...the sad side-effects of aging, I guess ), I try to recall an album-title by Pink Floyd...."A Momentary Lapse of Reason"......
The confusion seems to hace stemmed from comments I have placed in the public forum. There is no question of this bird not being a first-summer but I am not convinced of the sex - in fact, like 80% of our vagrants, most likely a male.
My comments initially stemmed from the fact that I have frequently seen birds of this plumage (blue toned on the upperparts in certain lights) in spring singing and naturally assumed that they were males. What I didn't realise is that female White-throated Robins sing (according to Witherby and an assortment of commentators).
Peter, you say you have 40 years experience - is that in handling, ringing and sexing birds in the hand? I assume by your comments that rirst-year male White-throated Robins complete a moult prior to their first migration and appear much as adult males in their first spring - certainly into June. Is that your take on it?