Re: Help rquired to identify races of SootyOystercatchers: update No1

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Re: Help rquired to identify races of SootyOystercatchers: update No1
From: "Robert Inglis" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008 21:42:01 +1000
Jeff Davies (Wed, 30 Jan 2008 20:45:50 +1100) wrote:

"G'day Robert,

I have been mulling over your pics for a couple of days and I have to say
they look a lot like opthalmicus, and identical to a bird photographed on
Lady Elliot Island by Tom Tarrant. When compared to birds from Broome your
birds have slightly les exposed bare skin around the eyes, but the colour of
the skin is identical ( yellow orange ) and they are nevertheless fleshy.
Can anyone provide an image of a bird from north Queensland for comparison.
Your Hastings Point birds look identical to the nominate fuliginosus birds I
am familiar with in Victoria with narrow red-orange eye-ring.

Cheers Jeff."

Thanks Jeff, it is such a relief to know that I am not completely delusional, or at least there is another person in the same state of mind as me.

Tom has shown me another photo of the Lady Elliot Island Sooty Oyc and it does look to me to be very much like the orange/yellow eye-ring-ed ones in my photos. I have looked at a number of internet photos of southern Australia Sooty Oystercatchers and they all seem to have the red-er, narrow-er eye-ring similar to the one on the Western Australian bird and the Hastings Point Bird I have added to set. Lady Elliot Island is at the southern extreme of the recognised border between the two races so I would suggest that a photograph of a Sooty Oyc taken no further south than Mackay would be required to eliminate birds which have resulted from interbreeding of the two races.


Bob Inglis

Note: I have added some location details to the photos in the Sooty Oystercatcher Set at:


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