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(Long shot) Chilean Songbird (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
United Kingdom
Hi all. Terrible pics and I don't expect an ID, but I'm wondering if anyone could at least narrow this down to family? The bird was singing; I didn't get a recording unfortunately, but I might be able to ID its song given a few options. La Silla Observatory today, mountains on the Coquimbo/Atacama border


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Based on location looks like it could be a Sicalis spp (Greater, Greenish, or Grassland Yellowfinch), a House Sparrow, or a Gray-headed Sierra-Finch.
Definitely not house sparrow. From what I remember of the song, either Greater or Grassland Yellowfinch would be good fits (Greenish is not expected in Coquimbo province apparently). Leaning towards Greater. Which would be more expected in a high desert environment? I'm guessing the Grassland yellowfinch prefers grassland?
From the song recordings, I'm leaning more towards Grassland. Greater sounds like it has an urgent-sounding and scratchy call, whereas the bird I heard had a very calm and sweet call.
Based on what I assume the environment is like there, I would agree Grassland YF should be less likely. I should think the Gray-headed SF, Greenish and Greater YF are all about equally likely. Not sure why Greenish isn't expected there, appears to be well within range and I see eBird records fairly widely distributed around that area.

Shy of having a recording or better photo, I wouldn't ID this to species personally.
I'm hoping the bird returns tonight, leaving it as 'yellowfinch sp.' for now. Feel quite happy ruling out the sierra-finch based on song and the few colour details in the terrible photos.
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