colour of White-fronted Chat's eyes

Subject: colour of White-fronted Chat's eyes
From: (John Leonard)
Date: Sat, 12 Sep 1998 14:54:20 +1000 (EST)
Last year when the new Pizzey was coming out and we were all submitting
mistakes I posted a note to Andrew Taylor's Pizzey page at the birding-aus
archive site about the colour of the White-fronted Chat's eyes. I was
convinced that Knight had it wrong, as he and Slater have the female with
dark red eyes, male with pale yellow eyes. Simpson and Day has it the other
way round, and, last year every time I saw White-fronted Chats I would
carefully check the eye colour and every time (I saw them mainly at Lake
Bathurst, on our monthly waterbird count, and must have observed over twenty
pairs) the colour was female, pale yellow, male, dark red.

However, going back to the Pizzey mistakes page to enter the Mangrove
Gerygone mistake I find that someone, name I forget, has disagreed and
pointed out that a photo in the Photographic Index has it male pale eye,
female dark. 

I checked this out and this is indeed what the Photographic Index shows,
aditionally the Reader's Digest photographic field-guide has a male with
pale eyes. Further the old Pizzey has it this way in the illustrations and
in the text Pizzey says that the male has 'eye whitish to orange'.

Against this I would set my own observations, and the photo in the Reader's
Digest Complete Book of Australian Bird which shows a male with dark eyes.

So, what's the story? Is it that eye colour in this species can vary,
irrespective of sex, from very dark red to very pale yellow? Or is there
geographical variation?

Observations please.

John Leonard


John Leonard (Dr),
PO Box 243,
Woden, ACT 2606

"that knowledge which is not a stranger in something
strange to it"     Plotinus

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