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Sturnus sp. (Madrid, Spain)

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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 21:39   #1
SLopezM
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Sturnus sp. (Madrid, Spain)

Hello everyone. I saw this bird today in Velilla de San Antonio (Madrid). Can you tell if it is Sturnus vulgaris or S. unicolor even though the quality is low?
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 21:57   #2
RafaelMatias
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Sturnus unicolor for me.
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Old Sunday 22nd September 2019, 23:26   #3
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Me too.
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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 00:39   #4
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As someone who would say not possible to id to species, what makes you so sure?

Niels
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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 03:21   #5
RafaelMatias
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Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
As someone who would say not possible to id to species, what makes you so sure?

Niels
What makes you think it's not identifiable to species?
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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 09:09   #6
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What makes you think it's not identifiable to species?
I agree with Niels, not possible, for me anyway, from this pic.
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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 13:03   #7
njlarsen
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What makes you think it's not identifiable to species?
Common Starling can look fairly unspotted, and these photos are not nearly good enough to show for sure that there are no spots; and I do not see the elongated throat feathers that are characteristic of Spotless Starling.

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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 13:26   #8
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Not possible to assess bill shape either so, I'm out too!

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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 14:27   #9
RafaelMatias
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Both species are in fresh non-breeding/winter plumage right now. The main distinguishing feature at a distance is really not the body spotting, it's the fresh fringing to the wing feathers, with Common Starling having very noticeable and broad pale (brown) and contrasting fringes to those feathers (wings stand out as unequivocally paler than the body at a distance), while Spotless has no such fringes and wings look uniform with the body.
Now the bird in the photo: is it just a black silhouette with no colour visible? Not at all. It is dark, as expected given the species we're talking about, but plenty to see there: black "mask" on the lores to the eyes, reflections on upper cheeks, over the scapulars, upper breast (making a darker wing to almost stand out), and legs appear brownish (not black, as in a silhouette) which reinforces the idea that if paler fringes were present on the wing they'd be obviously visible. I don't see much problem with this.

P.S.: this could be useful: http://blascozumeta.com/wp-content/u...-starlings.pdf
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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 16:43   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RafaelMatias View Post
Both species are in fresh non-breeding/winter plumage right now. The main distinguishing feature at a distance is really not the body spotting, it's the fresh fringing to the wing feathers, with Common Starling having very noticeable and broad pale (brown) and contrasting fringes to those feathers (wings stand out as unequivocally paler than the body at a distance), while Spotless has no such fringes and wings look uniform with the body.
Now the bird in the photo: is it just a black silhouette with no colour visible? Not at all. It is dark, as expected given the species we're talking about, but plenty to see there: black "mask" on the lores to the eyes, reflections on upper cheeks, over the scapulars, upper breast (making a darker wing to almost stand out), and legs appear brownish (not black, as in a silhouette) which reinforces the idea that if paler fringes were present on the wing they'd be obviously visible. I don't see much problem with this.

P.S.: this could be useful: http://blascozumeta.com/wp-content/u...-starlings.pdf
I cannot see those details on either of the two computers I have used.

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Old Monday 23rd September 2019, 22:11   #11
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Even though it is not clear, I would have said Sturnus unicolor too: S. vulgaris has been seen just in a few ocassions in this place, and never in September.

https://ebird.org/hotspot/L3932776/m...=all&m=#eursta
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Old Tuesday 24th September 2019, 13:23   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SLopezM View Post
Even though it is not clear, I would have said Sturnus unicolor too: S. vulgaris has been seen just in a few ocassions in this place, and never in September.

https://ebird.org/hotspot/L3932776/m...=all&m=#eursta
The OP is being assessed visually on what people think they can see so apart from probability, you seem to agree that it can't be ID'd from this photo?
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Old Tuesday 24th September 2019, 19:53   #13
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I'm inclined to Spotless Starling, not sure at all but I do like them, they knock the spots off Common Starling
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Old Tuesday 24th September 2019, 21:35   #14
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they knock the spots off Common Starling
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Old Sunday 29th September 2019, 08:17   #15
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I missd that until i saw Lou’s response

Laurie -
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Old Sunday 29th September 2019, 08:54   #16
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It would seem that the people who encounter this ID problem on a regular basis are pretty much certain
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Old Sunday 29th September 2019, 09:07   #17
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Quote:
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It would seem that the people who encounter this ID problem on a regular basis are pretty much certain
It doesn't mean they're right though
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