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Possible Hybrid - Canada

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Old Wednesday 22nd May 2019, 14:06   #1
snowyowl
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Possible Hybrid - Canada

These two RBGR visited my feeders during the last two days. I suspect that the one with the orange breast markings may be a hybrid. Sibley's shows something somewhat similar and calls it a hybrid Black-headedxRose-breasted Grosbeak. I would be very interested to hear what other people think.
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Old Wednesday 22nd May 2019, 15:02   #2
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Very interesting! Hybrids definitely do occur.

However, besides breast color this looks like a normal adult RB Grosbeak to me. I wonder if this is like the sometimes-reported "orange variant" Scarlet Tanagers, though I've never heard of that happening with Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

very interested to hear what others think.
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Old Wednesday 22nd May 2019, 16:56   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Yes, it would be great to hear what others think.
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Old Wednesday 22nd May 2019, 17:00   #4
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I thought I had posted a question: what is the size of the orange area compared to the size of the rosy area on a normal bird? It looks large?

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Old Wednesday 22nd May 2019, 17:03   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdmeister View Post

besides breast color this looks like a normal adult RB Grosbeak to me..
Agree with this. Completely normal nape color, vent color, beak color, etc. Even the breast color lacks any cinnamon-brownish tones that would point toward BH Grb.

Sibley's illustration of a hybrid shows a "messier" color on flanks, belly, collar, nape, supercilium, and a darker bill. Online photos of hybrids all show similar irregularities in varying degrees.

I think a pigment deficiency (single point mutation? deletion? nutritional causes?) is a more likely explanation in this case.
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Old Wednesday 22nd May 2019, 17:34   #6
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Xanthochroism is a condition where individual birds of a given species may have yellowish or orange plumage instead of red. This may be caused by a genetic variation or by diet. I believe that this is what we are seeing here.
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Old Wednesday 22nd May 2019, 23:02   #7
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I see this as a RBGR with a slight off-colored breast due to one of the factors mentioned above.
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Old Wednesday 22nd May 2019, 23:06   #8
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Good to read all the opinions. I'll file this away as a normal variation caused by one of the various reasons given. Thanks!
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