I have seen dark morph White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes with many variations on
the black throat/head markings. I have seen ones like the one in your photo
that has similar black areas to to Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike. Birds like
this usually have some black blotching below the black bib, unlike the BFCS.
This area is not visible in your photo. I don't know whether they hybridise
or not but I suspect that it is just natural variation in the WBCS. If the
bird was smaller than a BFCS then it is not a young BFCS. Did it call? The
heavy black marking on the lores of the bird in your photo only reaches the
eye like a 'normal' morph WBCS.
I would say a dark morph WBCS.
Dr Greg. P. Clancy
Ecologist and Birding-wildlife Guide
| PO Box 63 Coutts Crossing NSW 2460
| 02 6649 3153 | 0429 601 960
From: Stephen Murray
Sent: Monday, June 17, 2013 5:21 PM
Subject: Strange Cuckoo-shrike
This morning I was at Sheepstation Creek Conservation Park near Caboolture
in Queensland. Both White-bellied and Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes are common
here, and they are normally fairly easy to distinguish. One bird, however,
had me puzzled. At first I thought it was a regulation BFCS, but on closer
inspection it was more the size of a WBCS, has light half eye-ring (a
feature of WBCS), and, even though it has a darker area the shape of that of
a BFCS, if you look closely you can see a slightly darker facial mask area.
The bill looks too small for BFCS. Now, I realise there are dark morphs of
WBCS (which I've never seen), but I have only ever seen photos of birds with
a totally dark head. So, I have three questions:
1. Do dark morph WBCS have gradations, or are they either all or
2. Do BFCS hybridise with WBCS?
3. Have I been duped by a juvenile?
A rather ordinary photo is here: http://www.pbase.com/image/150836159
Cheers Steve Murray
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