unknown bird

Subject: unknown bird
From: Brian Fleming <>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2000 21:43:31 +1100
Now these birds looked almost like females or immatures, they were
> approx 15-20cms in length, dark brown almost black around the eye,
> sharp  pointed mandible 20mm,mottled dark brown/black and white spots on
> breast,separated by thin pale white streak,no white on outer
> wings.Foraging and moving about in weedy growth along Rail line. All
> in all hard to define.No song or call. <snip> 
  Overall grey/brown plumage. Any suggestions?
> > Cheers,
> > Mark Kliene.
Dear Mark,
Your unknowns just MIGHT be immature Starlings - which have often
puzzled me severely.  The first plumage is a very indeterminate
fawnish-greyish colour. When the spotty adult plumage comes in (during
it does so patchily, starting on flanks and sometimes breast. At this
stage the
bird can be mistaken for lots of things, and I doubt if it's illustrated
anywhere.  It's almost as puzzling as a young Golden Whistler!
Hope this helps,
Anthea Fleming

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