Yellow-rumped Mannikins missing facial feathers?

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Yellow-rumped Mannikins missing facial feathers?
From: "Drew Fulton" <>
Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2007 12:36:14 +0930
On 1 June, I found and photographed two different flocks of Yellow-rumped 
Mannikins near Timber Creek.  The first flock was near Policeman's Point and 
had between 20 and 30 birds in it while the second flock was only about 6 birds 
and was at the airstrip.

In reviewing my images, I found that many individuals were missing feathers in 
the lores and around the eye and cheek.  They appear to have a similiar pattern 
to the juvenile Chestnut-breasted and Pictorella Mannikins as illustrated in 
Pizzey and Knight, 7th ed.  The juvenile Yellow-rumped doesn't have the missing 
feathers illustrated.  Slater doesn't illustrate the lack of facial feathers in 
the juvenile Chestnut-breasted and doesn't illustrate Juvenile Yellow-rumped or 
Pictorellas at all.  Furthermore, Simpson and Day does the same thing.

So my question is this, is this simply a molting pattern or is it something 
else?  The birds appear to be in adult plumage otherwise, I believe.  Below is 
a link to some photos.  Click on the thumbnails for larger views.  Thanks for 
any help or ideas on this.


Drew Fulton
Of Emus and Fairy-wrens: Photographing Australia's Endemic Birds

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