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Possible Louisiana waterthrush - Trinidad (1 Viewer)

bugmat

Well-known member
Hi All

We're having a debate in our local birding community as to whether this species has actually ever been in Trinidad, due to its resemblance to the common migratory LNorthern waterthrush. WE've had a few sightings recently by a birdwatching guide intimately familiar with LWT from seeing them regularly in the Greater Antilles (G.A.)

I've gone over an individual I saw a year ago that looked rather strange for a NWT...the guide who reported the possible LWT this year is almost certain (he says 100%) the individual I saw last year is one too.

I've used a PDF to point out field markings and compare to the two NWT species we usually see (what are called northern & western types).

All comments welcome
 

Attachments

  • TTRBC - possible Louisiana Waterthrush 15-11-2016.pdf
    10.9 MB · Views: 82

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
Interesting bird; photos in the pdf are very good, but I still can't say one way or the other (mostly from lack of experience with Louisiana [LOWA], esp. outside of breeding season).

White underparts and broad super. positively scream LOWA, but I do see I bit of streaking at the base of the throat patch. Also, lacks contrasting yellowish flanks patch, and bill is relatively shallow (esp. lower mandible), which is more like Northern (NOWA). I also thought that the legs seem too dull for LOWA, but reading the account in the Sibley Guide, it would seem that this does not apply on the wintering grounds.
 

birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
Interesting bird; photos in the pdf are very good, but I still can't say one way or the other (mostly from lack of experience with Louisiana [LOWA], esp. outside of breeding season).

White underparts and broad super. positively scream LOWA, but I do see I bit of streaking at the base of the throat patch. Also, lacks contrasting yellowish flanks patch, and bill is relatively shallow (esp. lower mandible), which is more like Northern (NOWA). I also thought that the legs seem too dull for LOWA, but reading the account in the Sibley Guide, it would seem that this does not apply on the wintering grounds.

Certainly one of the harder waterthrush IDs I've seen in a while. Like Peter, I don't have experience with wintering Louisiana. Some features do look good for that species, but somehow I'm still leaning towards Northern. Really a tough call.
 

Kratter

Well-known member
To me this looks like an oddball rather pale Northern. The streaks below are too dense and crisp, the bill too small, the legs not pink enough. For a first country record, I would like to see a picture perfect individual.
Andy
 

Peter C.

...just zis guy, you know?
I'm quite surprised to find a couple of other (NA) birders having the same difficulty I am having! The response I expected (to my post, not necessarily the OP) was that somebody would come out and write, "no, no, no, it's obviously NNNN, because of xxxx, and yyyy." But it seems that there is more ambiguity in this pair than I was aware of.

And I really studied up on LOWA, at one point, because I really needed one for Canada (this was a while ago). Never really was so great with the I.D. by plumage, but fortunately, up here, they sing.

Back to the Trinidadian bird - like Kratter, I lean towards Northern, but the general field colour of the breast seems so white...
 

bugmat

Well-known member
To me this looks like an oddball rather pale Northern. The streaks below are too dense and crisp, the bill too small, the legs not pink enough. For a first country record, I would like to see a picture perfect individual.
Andy

I think the bill size marking is a general rule and not absolute according to Sibley. I get what you are saying though wrt wanting a picture perfect specimen for a country's first record... The fact that a Cuban bird guide who should know has possibly seen 3 different individuals (different sites) this year, and thinks this is one too, makes me feel we have just been overlooking them all this time due to assumptions and probability.

I will definitely be keeping better records of waterthrushes in the future including behaviour (video if possible) as the way the two species bob is supposed to be markedly different also, apart from the call.

EDIT: TO say there is another field marking that isn't widely used yet I will see if I ca apply to this - primary projections.
 
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DarkFireFalcon

Well-known member
This looks like a Northern Waterthrush to me. The throat isn't clean white, the streaking below looks to be too heavy for Louisiana, there's some yellowish tint in the supercilium, the bill is on the smaller side and the legs are pretty dull.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Most people here are experts, but for the rest: this is the id paper I always keep returning to for these two:
http://www.sibleyguides.com/2012/08/identification-of-waterthrushes/

The lack of buffy along the flank is one of the main things lacking for this one relative to Louisiana for me. I am solidly on the fence.

For what it is worth, I have seen one Louisiana Waterthrush in Dominica that I feel pretty sure about.

Niels
 

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