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Help with birds from California, USA (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Hi everybody,

Now I need help IDing some birds from California. These first 5 are all from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.

1 & 2 (different occasions, same location) - I'm thinking Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, but can't rule out California GC.

3 - Rufous-crowned Sparrow?

4 - Anna's Hummingbird?

5 - Group swimming not too far offshore in the Pacific Ocean. Looks like some species of Loon, but is it possible to say which from this photo?

Thanks in advance!


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Well-known member
1&2 - I agree with Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
3 - How about Brewer's Sparrow - I don't see the yellow lore for Savannah & the coloring is not right for Savannah & the streaking is not there for Savannah
4 - Anna's Hummingbird
5 - Eared Grebes


Well-known member
Jocateme had 4 right, it's a Rufous-crowned Sparrow. Note the thick long and dark bill, rufous crown, faint reddish line behind the eye and overall olive color.


Well-known member
I thought 3 might have been a Rufous-crowned too. Its too unmarked for savannah/brewer/clay-coloured, and that longer bill is probably better for RC.


Well-known member
Thanks a lot, guys!

Wonder if you could help me with these ones as well?

1 - Newport Beach, CA. I know the pic doesn't help at all, but short bill + extensive yellow on underparts tell me Western Kingbird. Am I right?

2 - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. I wonder if those black-billed cormorants (like the two facing left on the top left corner) could be Brandt's?

3 - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. Pretty sure that's an introduced Yellow-fronted Canary, from Africa, but I'd like to know what's the situation of this bird in US. Does it have established populations or are they all escaped individuals?

4 - Los Angeles, CA. California Gull?

5 - Malibu, CA. I'm guessing these are a Marbled Godwit and a Black-bellied Plover, but as shorebirds are tricky as can be to ID, I'd love a confirmation.


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Well-known member
Your kingbird is a Cassin's (Western's don't spend the winter in California), and I'd say you got all the rest. As for the yellow-fronted canary, they aren't established anywhere, at least not on a large scale. I don't know if wild breeding has even been documented.


Well-known member
With the extent of the yellowish/greenish color on the upper breast, I think Tropical Kingbird is a possibility for the first bird in the second set of pictures. Cassin's should show more darker gray, Western a pale gray.


Well-known member
The bill's awfully small for a Tropical, and Cassin's can look pretty pale.. But I see your point about the yellow on the breast. Tough call.


Well-known member
I was guessing Western for the two reasons you guys stated: large bill rules out Tropical, yellow breast rules out Cassin's (unless the extent of yellow is variable). Southernmost populations of Tropical Kingbird in South America can be only partially migratory. Couldn't that be the case with Western?

Posting another pic of the same bird, though I think it shows less than the previous one.


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Well-known member
From the angle of both your shots, we can't really assess how high the yellow comes up that well. I paid special attention to all the Cassin's Kingbirds I saw yesterday (about 8-10), and from this angle, they did appear to have the yellow come way up their chest. So still a Cassin's for me.

lou salomon

the birdonist
apart from the kingbird-discussion which i don't want to get involved in i just wanted to confirm all your other IDs.

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