Bird ID

Subject: Bird ID
From: "Niven McCrie" <>
Date: Sat, 7 Mar 1998 16:23:30 +0000
Hi everyone,
Following a posting on  ID of some groups there are some notes below 
on the flycatcher question. But first I have a couple of questions of 
my own and would love to hear your comments.
1. the literature indicates (and so does my own scrutiny of birds)  
that Golden-headed Cisticola has a dark undertail with white tips. 
This morning I saw a rather unusual presumed G-h Cist that had an 
excessively long tail (prob longer than typical  non-br plumage, though all 
others at the moment are in breeding plumage so I can't gain 
immediate comparison) that was pale grey with black tips on the 
underside. There were a few other peculiarities too, but that's 
another story. Anyone know if perhaps this is typical of first winter 
plumage birds??? P.S. It wasn't a Zitting!!!!
2. the pipits up here are rather more extensively dark streaked on 
the breast than I recall from down south. They also frequently 
(almost always?) have streaking down the sides to the thighs at 
least. Simpson & Day show streaks on the flanks but the text says 
"unstreaked flanks"; Pizzey & Knight neither show nor state that the 
streaking goes down the sides. It also seems to me that our birds' 
bills are heavier than their southern counterparts'. Any comments on 
these observations???

Some notes on the identification of Leaden and Broad-billed
Flycatchers, mostly from Richard Noske who's had extensive experience
of them in the hand as well as in the field.

Bill: the broad, shovel-shaped bill indicates adult male Broad-billed.
Immatures and perhaps females may have a narrower bill.
Whitish sides to tail: if absent should preclude Broad-billed. If
present may still be imm. Leaden. A bit subjective whether sides of
tail are 'whitish' or 'light greyish'.
Pale lores: confirms Broad-billed, though perhaps 10% may not show
much contrast.  Illustration in Pizzey shows this feature well, but
unfortunately it's the wrong way round. Adults have the pale lores,
imms may have dark lores. 
White eye-ring: a bold white eye-ring, especially on the lower edge
should be good for Broad-billed. 
Upperparts: uniformly grey upperparts with a blue tinge indicates
adult male Broad-billed. 
Underparts: too variable to be of value.

Niven McCrie
P.O. Box 41382
Casuarina 0811 NT
61 8 89451130

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