Chiffchaff / Iran (1 Viewer)

Shahrzad

Where bird is, life is also
Iran
My friend could take a photo of this Chieffchaff in Tehran city/ Iran today,
which one do you think has a better chance between Siberian Chiffchaff and the Mountain Chiffchaff?

At first glance I think it may a Siberian but again I hesitate...

25 October 2020 - Tehran/Iran by Parastoo Hedayatzadeh
 

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KenM

Well-known member
Hi Shahrzad,

To my eye it looks more Mountain Chiffchaff than Siberian (pinky buff wash to underparts look good), only negative comment I could make would be the lack of hard white to the fore-supercillium, unsure as to how critical this might be for MC. A great shot are there any more? :t:
 

Shahrzad

Where bird is, life is also
Iran
Thanks

Hi Shahrzad,

To my eye it looks more Mountain Chiffchaff than Siberian (pinky buff wash to underparts look good), only negative comment I could make would be the lack of hard white to the fore-supercillium, unsure as to how critical this might be for MC. A great shot are there any more? :t:

Thank you so much for your comment and explanation dear KenM, For the other photo I should ask my friend.
 

KenM

Well-known member
The green in the wings and tail strongly suggests Siberian

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Chiffchaff image irrespective of race, that doesn’t show either green edges to the primaries or secondaries, would be interested in seeing one?
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
I agree this looks much better for Siberian than Mountain - I don’t recall ever seeing such green fringes to the secondaries and retrices on a Mountain Chiffchaff (but I am only familiar with lorenzii which are uniformly darker, richer brown on the upperparts with dusty warm brown breast sides cf to the paler nominate sindianus which look more like Siberian -(minus the green wings!). Presumably it is sindianus v Siberian that is the contention here. Tbh, I’ve given up trying to assign races or species to images of Chiffchaff on ID threads with any degree of certainty, especially outside the breeding season - there are so many overlapping features and so many that don’t reach ‘perfect type’, that without field observations and calls, it remains an untreatable headache frankly.
 

Muppit17

Well-known member
I agree this looks much better for Siberian than Mountain . Presumably it is sindianus v Siberian that is the contention here.

It should be lorenzii vs Siberian as Tehran in on the direct route from the Caucasus to the gulf wintering grounds. However in saying that this appears to be closer to Siberian rather than Mountain. The lack of dark crown is a good feature to exclude Mountain, and although mountain can show greenish tinges this appears to be excessive. I would agree with Ken in saying the underparts seem rich for a Siberian but unlike Ken's comment, I believe that Collins guide over states the whiteness of the supercilium - although they can be pale, I have seen them tinged buff in the Caucasus.

Of course the key thing to aid identification is the call. But no help with photos!
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Tbh, I’ve given up trying to assign races or species to images of Chiffchaff on ID threads with any degree of certainty, especially outside the breeding season ....

This article is probably a case in point and makes for interesting reading (for some people ;)!) on races occurring in Northern Iran. Certainly in N.Iran, P.c.menzbieri (on range is more likely than tristis)) and/or P.sindianus lorenzii as well as joint genetic clades eg (brevitostris/caucasicus) are all to contend with! Interestingly due to its generally grey upperparts and yellow/green wing fringes, historically menzbieri has been included by some authorities in tristis. The morphology of all these southern races are not really adequately defined although more recent genetic studies by Rakovic et al provide better clarity on the breeding range of Chiffchaff races in Iran. The OP seems to show very mixed race features of menzbieri, (green/yellow fringes to flight feathers with cold brown upperparts), sullied flanks of lorenzii and possibly the complete lack of olive/yellow tones to its upperparts associated with tristis types but perhaps just a feature of these more easterly southerly races of Chiffchaff anyway.

http://deanar.org.uk/general/articles/IranChiffchaffs.htm
 
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Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
It should be lorenzii vs Siberian as Tehran in on the direct route from the Caucasus to the gulf wintering grounds!

Absolutely but I only mentioned sindianus because people were suggesting the OP is a Mountain Chiffchaff and since this clearly does not look like a lorenzii in my experience of this sub-species in NE Turkey I assumed people were suggesting it was the paler nominate sindianus (which I was actually disagreeing with anyway)
 
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KenM

Well-known member
I've always been interested in ''Brown'' Chiffchaffs since first encountering them in '12,'13,'14 and '15, all imaged as shown, however I don't have an image of what I would call a ''classic'' tristis type, which I saw for the first time this year.

For example grey brown uppers, small black bill and legs, with brilliant white under-parts, quite unlike the four images supplied. My problem is the variability amongst the five images shown versus the ''Classic'' snowball, thus my references to Mountain Chiffchaff as a nearer morphological comparison than ''tristis''. What's the consensus on the images supplied?

Cheers
 

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Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
I've always been interested in ''Brown'' Chiffchaffs since first encountering them in '12,'13,'14 and '15, all imaged as shown, '. What's the consensus on the images supplied?

Cheers

It would be helpful to give the location and date please Ken.

You may be interested in reading the article I linked to above.



As far as your above birds are concerned, the one in image 2 looks very similar in some respects to this one, which to me looked like a typical lorenzii but note Roland’s comments (especially in relation to extralimital occurrence) about this particular individual - I think the same thing could be said of less than typical tristis seen away from ‘normal’ range, which was the point you were making earlier I think (ie some showing less than spanking white underparts or other such mixed features)

https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=394509&highlight=mountain+chiffchaff

One of the things I’ve noted with caucasian Chichaff is the very strong and very black feet as Paul C’s excellent shot shows https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/101683631

And reading back all that, maybe I am indeed very boring ;)
 
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KenM

Well-known member
Apologies Deb for not giving the locations, images 1.and 5. St Margaret’s, Kent. Image 2. Birling Gap, East Sussex and images 3.and 4. my back garden, October in both cases and September for the former three. Hopefully you can see where I’m coming from.....

Cheers
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
...Hopefully you can see where I’m coming from.....

Cheers

Yes, Chiffchaff ID is a total mudpile :king: However, I would have thought as a very basic starting point, tristis should show cold uniformly brown greyish tones to the upperparts in the very least as well as solid black bare parts? - interesting that you found image 2 at Birling Gap which is an excellent funnel for autumn vargants btw. Image 4 and possibly 3 look like a Common Chiffchaff to me, I cant make out very much in 1 and 4 but hopefully others can give you better informed feedback.
 
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Shahrzad

Where bird is, life is also
Iran
The Chiffchaff sound

Here is another photo of this bird and also its recorded sound.
 

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Mark Lew1s

My real name is Mark Lewis
On balance I think this has to be an (abietinus? - I think range suits this best) common chiffchaff. In the new photo the buff in the underparts and supercilium are even stronger, the green tones in the wing and tail less contrasting with the rest of the upperparts, and as noted above, it lacks the warm wash on the face.

The call is perfect for abietinus/collybita. It doesn't completely rule out tristis or tristis influence, but as far as I know, a hweet call rules out mountain chiffchaff.
 

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