Well as I said, I know these not but: when we say indetermina are we sure we don't mean intermedia? I couldn't find any evidence of former in (e.g.) Avibase. The original paper is here, I think:I have no field experience of Zappey's but from illustrations, this bird has greater contrast with the crown and face than I'd expect for this species and I think the breast to belly demarcation, is too diffuse for this species?
A pity that the wings, seem to be obscuring the 'diagnostic'(?) white patch at the base of the tail sides.
This is just a comment (or a question) - in Japan we have only cyanomelana, or at least I've only seen adult male birds with a black breast, so I can't give an opinion on cumatilis or intermedia.Well as I said, I know these not but: when we say indetermina are we sure we don't mean intermedia? I couldn't find any evidence of former in (e.g.) Avibase. The original paper is here, I think:
The photos of Zappey's there seem consistent with yours I think: note the brighter cap on both species.
Hence my comment about the diffuse nature of the breastband in my post Mac but it's not very obvious in any of the field guides that depict it. It seems to me that we really need to see this white spot at the base of the outer tail feathers.This is just a comment (or a question) - in Japan we have only cyanomelana, or at least I've only seen adult male birds with a black breast, so I can't give an opinion on cumatilis or intermedia.
Also the paper states that a narrow black band between the blue chest and the white belly, as well as black vertical streaking on the back (against a blue background) are marks of the differentiation of cumatilis (and we can see this in some of the skins shown in the paper).
Grahame, that was precisely the point I was trying to make - only museum searches, but in 2012 when DNA separation would have been available.Mac, you must remember the descriptions you refer to https://static1.squarespace.com/sta...07842b1c/1545676011165/Zappeys-Flycatcher.pdf are from museum searches...
Because it's not mentioned in the field guide ( in this case Eaton et al ) description for cumatilis but it is for cyanomelana which would steer the inexperieced observer to conclude that it's an exclusive feature?Andy, to address one misconception first, cumatilis shows white in the base of the outer tail i.e pattern is identical to cyanomelana- I don't know what gave you that idea? And yes, the OP is 2cy male on account of dull (unmoulted) remiges, primary coverts, alula etc.
These photos by Viator are really interesting, because the blue is more turquoise than other photos and much closer to the colour of the cumatilis skins that are illustrated in the Leader and Carey paper, and which I copied in an attachment in my post above #7. As you can see (also in my post #7 which was indeed the main point of that post), the bird that illustrates Zappey's on 'Birds of the World' is a completely different shade of bright blue, as is the OP's bird which started this thread (and so is the bird illustrating Blue-and-White Flycatcher on BofW).To give another example here is a front and back view of a Zappey's in Singapore
It's very kind of you to reply, Dr Leader.An interesting post, and one I can perhaps shed some light on.
I am aware of further research into the taxonomy of Zappey’s and Blue and White Flycatcher, which supports the conclusions we came to in our 2012 paper, but this does not seem to have been published.
A fair amount has been learnt about Zappey’s since 2012 and whilst adult males are very distinctive, the black streaks on the mantle we made quite a lot of in our paper are in fact rarely shown. Most of our material for Zappey’s is from the main collection in Beijing, and from the Beijing area. Why Zappey’s in that area show such obvious black mantle streaks is somewhat bemusing. Likewise, the black at the base of the breast is not always apparent (but still seems to be diagnostic when present).
First-winter males tend to be a bit duller overall, such that cumatilis and intermedia and intermedia and cyanoptila are less easily distinguished in the field.
Having been sent many photos of this species pair since our paper was published, what is also obvious is how posture can greatly affect the tone and colour of the head and breast. I have seen photos of males that look like cumatilis in one photo and intermedia in the next. I now avoid commenting on single photos (unless obvious).
We also now know that cumatilis and intermedia breed sympatrically in the Beijing area. As such Lerxst, it would be good to see further images of the bird in the original post.
The name cumatilis had previously been ascribed, incorrectly to the populations in NE China (i.e. intermedia) hence the confusion in some of the older fieldguides.
MacNara, whilst I understand your frustration here, research such as you suggest takes a lot of time and resources. The research that went into our 2012 paper required two trips to Japan, two to Russia and one to north-east China. All self-funded. Our experience was that these are typically low-density species with males having huge territories, and often singing from the tops of large trees. Trapping is problematic even when you find them. In 2012 we felt that we had sufficient data to publish without DNA, even though we anticipated some criticism for taking this approach. If we had waited for DNA, I suspect we would have published nothing as yet. DNA from skins is problematic as you would need material from the breeding grounds only, and would require material from multiple museums in at least five countries.
Finally, intermediates between pandoo and phillipensis Blue Rock Thrushes seem to be fairly regular based on skin collections, despite typical adult males of both being very different.