Female Golden Whistlers

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Female Golden Whistlers
From: "Greg & Val Clancy" <>
Date: Wed, 6 May 2009 19:30:14 +1000
I banded birds at Iluka Nature Reserve (North Coast NSW) on Monday and Tuesday 
with Anthony Overs and others from Canberra.  We had two interesting adult 
female Golden Whistler recoveries.  They were recovered over 12 years 8 months 
and over 7 years and 8 months after banding, respectively.  The older bird had 
very interesting plumage. The belly and lower breast were extensively yellow, 
as were the lower belly and vent as is usual for female Golden Whistlers.  Its 
throat was white mottled grey, similar to adult female but much whiter.  The 
bird appeared to be partly assuming adult male plumage characters.  I have seen 
this type of unusual plumage once before many years ago.  I was banding with 
Bill Lane (at Tumbi Umbi I think) and seem to remember that someone (?John 
Disney) told me that it may be due to the degeneration of the gonads which 
change the chromosomes from XX to XY and therefore the bird begins to assume 
male characteristics.  This apparently occurs in the domestic fowl.  Does 
anyone know if this is true?


Greg Clancy

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