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Red Breasted or Taiga Flycatcher?

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Old Thursday 22nd September 2011, 14:15   #1
HokkaidoStu
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Red Breasted or Taiga Flycatcher?

I took these pics almost 2 years ago, late November 2009 in south Hokkaido Japan.

Taiga Flycatcher is a scarce migrant in Japan and had been recently spilt from Red Breasted Flycatcher. I assumed the latter was to the west and the former here in the east. One reader of my blog suggested at the time it may have been a Red Breasted (now a real rarity in Japan) but to be honest they look so similar I couldn't really tell the difference and assumed it was a Taiga Flycatcher and I forgot all about it.

Now a couple of others (on flickr) have suggested once again it may be a Red Breasted.

3 heavily cropped pics are attached. Any opinions gratefully received.......
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Old Thursday 22nd September 2011, 14:27   #2
chris butterworth
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By the amount of black on the uppertail coverts ( quite extensive ) I'd go with Taiga Fly.

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Old Thursday 22nd September 2011, 15:14   #3
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Thanks Chris...............

Taiga would be the 'default' species in Japan, like I say some birders more knowledgeable than me had sown the seeds of doubt.
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Old Thursday 22nd September 2011, 16:56   #4
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IMO the warm buffish hues over the breast, the pale upper tail coverts (perhaps even paler than average RBF?) and pale base to lover mandible, makes this a very likely Red-breasted fly.
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Old Thursday 22nd September 2011, 18:25   #5
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Checking the literature I'd have to agree with the points Stenura made and agree with RBF.

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Old Thursday 22nd September 2011, 18:39   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stenura View Post
IMO the warm buffish hues over the breast, the pale upper tail coverts (perhaps even paler than average RBF?) and pale base to lover mandible, makes this a very likely Red-breasted fly.
Also indistinct pale edges on tertials and buff-toned tips to greater coverts are better for Red-breasted.
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Old Thursday 22nd September 2011, 21:45   #7
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Thanks for the replies, looks like it may be a RBF then...........
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Old Thursday 22nd September 2011, 21:54   #8
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Quote:
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Thanks for the replies, looks like it may be a RBF then...........
In my opinion, yes! I can not find one single pro-albicilla character in your bird...
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Old Friday 23rd September 2011, 05:45   #9
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very interesting, it does look promising for RBF. The point noted already by makpe -buff-toned tips to greater coverts - is something that I think is often under-rated as a feature for seperating these two spp. I see a lot of Taiga Flys on my local patch and the greater covert fringing on these birds always looks "cold" in comparison to RBF.

Lower mandible colour is often cited as a good feature but I must admit that I find it a bit unreliable, having seen a few Taiga Flys with a hint of pale base, and I have seen some photos of RBFs with apparently all-dark bills.

Of course the end of the matter will come when you hear the bird call!
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Old Friday 23rd September 2011, 08:07   #10
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Quote:
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The point noted already by makpe -buff-toned tips to greater coverts - is something that I think is often under-rated as a feature for seperating these two spp.
Agree

Quote:
Originally Posted by gandytron View Post
Lower mandible colour is often cited as a good feature but I must admit that I find it a bit unreliable, having seen a few Taiga Flys with a hint of pale base, and I have seen some photos of RBFs with apparently all-dark bills.
Many albicilla show a pale base to lower mandible, but it is generally a rather small pale area restricted to the innermost parts of the bill. I often find it more well defined than in parva (which normally shows a larger and more diffusely set off pale base, frequently with only the tip being dark). In field/photos parva often gives a false impression of having an all dark lower mandible, but this is generally an effect of the light conditions (lower mandible is often i shadow). Some parva bills are indeed a bit darker, but I still find the character quite useful in most individuals (esp. in hand-held birds).

Last edited by stenura : Friday 23rd September 2011 at 08:39.
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Old Friday 23rd September 2011, 09:01   #11
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Originally Posted by gandytron View Post

Of course the end of the matter will come when you hear the bird call!
It was nearly 2 years ago when I saw it I'm afraid....................
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Old Friday 23rd September 2011, 09:57   #12
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Looks good for RBF Stuart. The tail colour is also good for RBF.
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