Female Leaden/Satin Flycatchers

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Female Leaden/Satin Flycatchers
From: "Bill Jolly" <>
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2005 10:53:33 +1000
Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts about the female
Leaden/Satin Flycatcher question.

For the most part, people seem to be closely familiar with either Leaden or
Satin, but not both. Accordingly, ideas about the key identifier for the
less familiar bird vary considerably, and are mostly contradicted by others.

The point was made that the nature of the difference in colouring is such
that photographs are just about useless as a tool for separating the two
females on those grounds. I certainly agree with that.

I took a look at Graeme Chapman's Myiagrid article in the June 2003
Wingspan, where the only definitive characteristic he identified as a
reliable separator between the two females is a bluish sheen on the crown of
the female Satin.

In correspondence, a suggestion was made that the yellow eye-ring of the
Satin can show a slight thickening or bulge around a point which could be
described as either 5 o'clock or 7 o'clock. Has anyone else observed this on
either Leadens or Satins?

Generally, the colour and extent of the rufous on the breast is thought not
to be a reliable differentiator between the two.

The New Atlas shows all breeding of Satins to be south of the Queensland
border, and all winter records north of it. There is no doubt that Satin
Flycatchers pass through here in the autumn, along with the many other
southern migrants that we see.

As to the four birds I had here recently, they remain in the too-hard basket
until I learn more, or perhaps until one of them moults into a male Leaden
or Satin Flycatcher.

If anyone could comment on their experience of crown colour or eye-rings in
the field, I would be most grateful to hear about it - either way.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped out with this.

Bill Jolly

Lockyer Valley, Queensland.

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