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Finch in Italian Alps ID

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Old Tuesday 21st August 2018, 23:40   #1
btuliozi
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Finch in Italian Alps ID

Hi everyone

A couple of days ago (18/08/18) I ran into this small finch at 2500 meters above sea level, in the western part of the Italian Alps (colle del Nivolet, Parco Nazionale del Gran Paradiso). The environment was alpine meadows with rock escarpments, close to a mountain chalet. I am thinking about Citril Finch, a young individual dispersing above its usual habitat of coniferous forest. It appears, however, a bit weird and I would like some opinions on how to exclude Serin (if possible). I have other pictures if you think that some particular needs some more attention!

Thank you in advance for your help and my best wishes to everyone

Ben
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Old Wednesday 22nd August 2018, 09:37   #2
Rotherbirder
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I would say its a juvenile Serin. Bill shape wrong for Citril Finch (would be longer & more sharply pointed), as is shape/colour of wing bars which would show more yellow in Citril Finch.

RB
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Old Wednesday 22nd August 2018, 20:41   #3
Neil Morris
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Juvenile Citril Finch

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Old Wednesday 22nd August 2018, 20:54   #4
Simon Wates
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The dark centered tertails with paler tips, yellow flash on secondaries, yellow vent, lonely eye and lack of heavy streaking on underparts/flanks make this a juv. Citril Finch for me.

Last edited by Simon Wates : Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 20:58.
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Old Saturday 25th August 2018, 19:03   #5
Simon Wates
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My previous comment re; tertails was badly expressed - I should have said "dark tertails contrasting with broad edges" (Serins have a thin edge). Mainly though, I'd thought I'd bump this because the OP's bird really doesn't look as a Serin to me - on structure alone. This bird's plumage features also fit well for Citril Finch IMHO.

A Serin at an altitude of 2,500m would be unusual wouldn't it? I'd guess they would only be breeding below 1,000m

Any more opinions?

Last edited by Simon Wates : Saturday 25th August 2018 at 21:07.
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Old Sunday 26th August 2018, 07:38   #6
btuliozi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Wates View Post
My previous comment re; tertails was badly expressed - I should have said "dark tertails contrasting with broad edges" (Serins have a thin edge). Mainly though, I'd thought I'd bump this because the OP's bird really doesn't look as a Serin to me - on structure alone. This bird's plumage features also fit well for Citril Finch IMHO.

A Serin at an altitude of 2,500m would be unusual wouldn't it? I'd guess they would only be breeding below 1,000m

Any more opinions?
Hi! thank everyone for their useful opinions!
Yes, a serin at that altitude would be really weird - while on the other hand citril finches have been recorded in the park a bit below (even if rarely). Moreover, it definitely is not an adult serin, and a juvenile would have much less yellow, I think!
I add a few more pictures of the same individual, taken in the same few moments. They are all of the same bird, except for the very first picture (the one on the tree). There were no trees in the immediate vicinity of OP individual. The one on the tree appears as the same species to me, it was taken at about 1900, in coniferous forest (in a place where citril finches are known to roam).

Thank you very much to everybody for the useful discussion!
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Last edited by btuliozi : Sunday 26th August 2018 at 07:40.
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Old Sunday 26th August 2018, 07:45   #7
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I am fairly confused by this bird - I can't see past Serin! I wouldn't look twice (for id) at the first picture in the second set for instance. The bill doesn't like Citril either....

I don't think altitude should be a guide either particularly at this time of year as birds have long fledged - we have Serin breeding at least to 15-1600m and I doubt it stops there - I'll go and find some figures.

Last edited by rosbifs : Sunday 26th August 2018 at 07:49.
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Old Sunday 26th August 2018, 08:03   #8
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Our local 'bible' has Serin as breeding to 1,900 with singing birds up to 2,000... However, I think that is irrelevant at this time of the year.
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Old Sunday 26th August 2018, 08:04   #9
btuliozi
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Originally Posted by rosbifs View Post
I am fairly confused by this bird - I can't see past Serin! I wouldn't look twice (for id) at the first picture in the second set for instance. The bill doesn't like Citril either....

I don't think altitude should be a guide either particularly at this time of year as birds have long fledged - we have Serin breeding at least to 15-1600m and I doubt it stops there - I'll go and find some figures.
That one picture is, however, the only one from a different individual, that I did not include in the original post because I thought at the beginning that it was actually a serin (a bird I am familiar with). It was taken the day before in a different location (Rifugio Muzio). Now, after discussion, I remembered that one picture and thought it might be another (possible) citril finch. However I think you are right, for that individua the bill seems actually off - but I have no experience with citril finches and sadly I could take of that individual only that one picture -.
For what concerns altitude, I will be even more specific: the other pictures were taken all from a single individual just outside Chalet Savoia (Rifugio Savoia).

Thanks again!
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Old Sunday 26th August 2018, 08:23   #10
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They look like they have a small stubby-bill to me, I'd have thought Serin
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Old Sunday 26th August 2018, 08:27   #11
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To summarise the photos then from the OP.......
all the photos, apart from No.1 in set 2, are of the same bird that was seen at 2,500 metres. The other bird at 1900 metres.
It's recorded that there is overlap between the two species at 1900 metres. I think the bird perched in the tree is a juvenile Serin based on that and the overall features, particularly the tiny bill.
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Old Sunday 26th August 2018, 08:58   #12
btuliozi
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Originally Posted by PYRTLE View Post
To summarise the photos then from the OP.......
all the photos, apart from No.1 in set 2, are of the same bird that was seen at 2,500 metres. The other bird at 1900 metres.
It's recorded that there is overlap between the two species at 1900 metres. I think the bird perched in the tree is a juvenile Serin based on that and the overall features, particularly the tiny bill.
Exactly. For what concerns the bill of the other bird, I would focus on pictures 4 (the closest one) of the first set and the picture 4 (the one one the flowers) of the second set. In these pictures, the bill is fairly prominent and does not look that small to me!

However, I also found these two pictures on ebird of young serins (barring misidentifications) on ebird that look a bit similar to the one I took...

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S48030059 (this one was taken in Lisboa, where I think that citril finch is definitely not an option)

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47988797

Definitely not easy...

Beniamino
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Old Sunday 26th August 2018, 11:28   #13
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In light of the 2nd set of photos;

1st photo of the bird on tree shows an adult Serin - a juv. wouldn't show any yellow on breast and would look more contrasty.

2nd photo cannot be a juv. Serin because its showing far too much yellow in the body plumage. The yellow washed vent is clear I think too and should eliminate Serin of any age (which show white on vent). To me its structure looks subtly more elongated and streamlined than the "chunky" Serin. If this was say, an adult female Serin, its underparts and especially flanks would be broadly streaked, whereas this bird looks lightly marked.
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Old Monday 27th August 2018, 17:02   #14
btuliozi
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Just to add to the discussion: in an Italian facebook group more or less there is a 40-60 split between serin and citril finch. They also caution not to take into consideration altitude.
For citril finch, it has been said (if I am not mistaken): brownish greater coverts with clear light edge, a particular pattern between neck and head (lighter ear coverts), general posture on the rock, longer tail, dripping marks less strong, stronger wing bars.
For serin, bill shape and more marked eyebrow.
I think the facebook group is private (and anyway, the discussion is in Italian).

Thank you again for all your opinions!
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Old Wednesday 29th August 2018, 13:45   #15
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Quote from Advanced Bird ID Handbook - Van Duivendijk

'Juv Serin - lacks bright yellow - yellow-brownish where yellow in adult. Upperparts including rump streaked.
Wingbars yellow brown

Juv Citril - Grey brown plumage without yellow or green
faintly streaked underparts, strongly streaked upperparts'

Anyway, still struggling with this bird....
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