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Blue-and-white or Zappey's? (1 Viewer)


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I am 95% sure on my ID of this, which agrees wtih what the local guide there, an ornithologist, called it. This was taken near Beijing in June 2018. I have had this ID recently challenged so I would like some other opinions. Thanks!

The breast and throat are definitely blue-tinged, so this is not the black-breasted Cyanoptila cyanomelana B&W Fly.

The question comes with the potential confusion between Zappey's (Cyanoptila cumatilis) and the intermedia subspecies of B&W Fly.

This paper is most likely to resolve your question:


From the skins it looks like your bird is closest to intermedia, but being within the breeding range of cumatilis in June it would be important to definitively rule out cumatilis.

Curious to know which you think it is.

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I was sent this photo recently and asked for my opinion, however there was a frontal photo too, showing some blackish feathers on the middle breast such as shown on intermedia Blue-and-white, and none of the turquoise hues and narrow black dividing line expected from a Zappey's. Angle and light can play tricks on blue hues so it's important to show as many angles as possible before a definitive identification can be given, in my opinion.

"Curious to know which you think it is."

We saw this bird with a professional local ornithologist acting as our guide, someone who did his field work in this geographic area. He identified it as Zappey's.
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