Cairns 28/8 - 30/8

To: "Simon Blanchflower" <>
Subject: Cairns 28/8 - 30/8
From: Sue & Phil Gregory <>
Date: Sat, 2 Sep 2006 09:56:16 +1000
Thanks Simon, some interesting points here:
I always find the bill of Leaden deceptively broad from some angles, indeed surprisingly so, so much that i am not convinced that it is all that much use as a field character. i know in the mangroves at Hisiu in PNG, there are these very wide billed flycatchers which on both call and male plumage are clearly Leaden. Not too sure about tail shape as diagnostic, I fear moult and state of plumage may affect this, but it is worth looking to see if it works. I know Broad-billed is known from the mouth of the Mossman River, not too far north of here. I find the pale lores are a very good feature for them in the the Darwin area, but in some areas ( ? FNQ) the birds seemingly don't show this feature. I have no local records of the species and would be interested to hear of other records from south of Mossman. Calls are helpful, beyond the generic scolding Myiagra type call which is similar in all 3 of the group. I agree the birds are easily missed, but they are also easily confused and females of the group are a considerable i.d. challenge, especially out of breeding range.
Thanks for your comments.
Phil Gregory
On 02/09/2006, at 9:24 AM, Simon Blanchflower wrote:

Good question Phil. I am very familiar with Leaden Flycatcher and not familiar with Broad-Billed. The first thing that drew my attention to this bird was by seeing it directly from below and the shape of its bill. When viewed from below Leadens have a triangular shaped bill, this bird was very different. Much broader at the base, and frogmouth-like. On seeing this bird this feature was "stunningly" different. The undertail was also notably different, with feathers more spaced out, giving a rounded-tail appearance - leadens are much narrower giving a squared-tailed appearance (again viewed from underneath). The reason I thought this bird was a female is that the plumage had a washed appearance (i.e. not particularly glossy) plus -perhaps more importantly it had distinctly paler lores giving the impression of a paler band between the eye and bill base.

I had a couple of pretty good views of this bird both from below and more side on and would have to agree that with a side on view it would be tough to call it, but from below you see the undertail pattern and of course bill shape clearly, which are both features which are very different from Leaden.

I would challenge that these birds would be easily missed and are possibility more common south of Cape York than perhaps we think - anyone else have any views?

There were a number of Leaden Flycatchers around also.


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