I was birding in North Turramurra (a northern suburb of Sydney) today (Sat
16 Jan 2021) in an area known to hold Black-faced Monarchs at this time of year
(and they are there as I saw an adult and heard another calling). At one
point I saw a bird that was the right shape, but it was all grey expect for a
paler patch between the eye and the bill, which was quite pale, and a small
patch of orange around the vent and a little way up the belly (to about where
the legs come out). It was high in a tree and well beyond the range of my camera
equipment so nothing to share I am afraid. The bird behaved like a
flycatcher – working through the trees and making sallying flights out from a
perch and back again, although not favouring a single perch. I think it
was a very young Black-faced Monarch, but all the images of juveniles I can find
(in my books and on-line) show the orange from the chest down, so this bird
would, on that basis, not be right in terms of the amount of orange although the
pale around the face and pale bill are useful.
The area also holds a pair of possibilities that I have ruled out - Leaden
Flycatcher, but this bird was too thickset for a Leaden and did not flicker its
tail or any of that sort of Leaden behaviour when perched; and Golden (but not
Rufous) Whistlers – and the bill/head shape was wrong for Whistler, as was the
So my question is two fold – do the very fresh Black-faced Monarch
fledglings have less orange and do they grow into their adult colouring?
And if not, what else it may have been?