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Isabelline Wheatear - Mozambique

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Old Wednesday 26th December 2012, 12:44   #1
safariranger
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Isabelline Wheatear - Mozambique

Can those who are more familiar with this species please comment on this being a possible Isabelline Wheatear. This is a very rare species for Southern Africa and would like to put the word out as soon as possible if it is in fact this species.

Thank you
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Old Wednesday 26th December 2012, 14:57   #2
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I'd be tempted to say it's an Isabelline. Unfortunately with only two 'less than perfect' pictures, it's hard to be 100% confident, for me at least. Some more images?

In favour of Isabelline:
- all white underwing, unfortunately only the axilliaries are well exposed and some Northern wheatear do show mostly white axilliaries too, nevertheless this looks good for IW
- pale sandy tones of plumage
- dark isolated alula (very strong pointer in favour of IW!) seemingly darker than the centre of the greater coverts
- seemingly reduced white patch on the rump/uppertail coverts (hard to assess though)
- very pale/silver inner webs of primaries (but beware of worn NW!)
- the legs look long and strong

2 things bother me:
- the bill looks smallish
- the structure on the second pic does not look typical for IW, but it's only a pic

Additionaly, the face pattern may cause some concern (or not) with some more images, but it seems to me that the supercilium doesn't extend behind the eye (or just marginally), which is good for IW.

Edit: forgot to mention the tail pattern...it could fit both species IMO. I would be interested to see what others think...

Last edited by Tib78 : Wednesday 26th December 2012 at 15:01.
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Old Thursday 27th December 2012, 16:39   #3
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Hi Tib78,

Thank you for your detailed response. Unfortunately there is only one other photo and it is almost identical to the photo of the perched bird.
Other responses I have received thus far have also all indicated that this is a Isabelline Wheatear.
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Old Thursday 27th December 2012, 21:32   #4
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I think that the wings are way too pale to be Northern Wheatear. Isabelline Wheatear for me - note the darker tips to the primaries which I would expect to be same or paler on Northern.

Cheers

Roy
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Old Friday 28th December 2012, 01:48   #5
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I'm in the Izzy camp on this bird too...
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Old Friday 28th December 2012, 12:12   #6
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What can be made out of the underwing coverts says Izzy to me.

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