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redwing or song thrush or hybrid? [Pictures] (Greece) (1 Viewer)

Dimitra_v

Active member
Greece
On February 20th I was birding in my back yard and I noticed a thrush. It was the first time I ever saw a thrush so I was skeptical. At first I Identified it as a song thrush (notice the arrow-shaped brown spots) but afterwards I looked up other pictures of song thrushes and none of them had such a strong pale eye brow. What also confused me is the red part under the wing, which I only noticed after looking back at my recording. The strong eyebrow is a feature of a redwing, correct? But there is not red on the sides, only under the wing. It seems like it has features of both species, as in a hybrid, but leans more towards song thrush. I am no expert on thrushes, so if anyone can help me ID it...
 

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Dimitra_v

Active member
Greece
Song Thrush; the eyestripe is nowhere near prominent enough, and the red on a redwing is actually on the flanks rather than the underwing.
but still, even if it is not a redwing, and it's a song thrush, why is the eyestripe so strong? I cant find anything on that online so if anyone knows... and all the other song thrush pictures ive seen dont haa face like this one. Or maybe i'm wrong.
 

Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Wow, although I agree with Song thrush, I have never seen one with a head pattern like this before.
When looking closely, bill color is also unusual for a Song trush, clear and bright yellowish-orange (not plain dirty yellow or buffish-yellow), but within variation. More, bronze wing panel is also more prominent than in many Song Trushes.
But, I actually write this, because I am alerted/puzzled by the head pattern.
And I got the feeling that underwing pattern is unusual, but didn’t find the reason. So, I made a quick search and found that pictures shows no or just a weak dark coma at the base of the primaries. Is this within variation?
conclusion? It’s the weirdest Song Trush, I have ever seen. And I have seen many of them, even in winter. But I have seen abnormal, bridled passerines like this before. I recall Chiffchaffs and blackbirds.
 

KenM

Well-known member
An interesting image Dimitra_v

I presume that you don’t have any profile shots of the head pattern? Which to my eye is most interesting, in as much as the apparent open clear face pattern
which I’ve seen only once before in the UK and imaged, with most examples being indistinct in having a darker tonal wash over the face and falling within a narrow variance norm.
I’ve observed this face pattern (your bird) on a few images taken from overwintering Song Thrush in the Middle East which almost certainly emanate from Siberia.

When myself and a colleague encountered the UK bird in October 2008 we were somewhat taken aback by it’s appearance so much so, that we researched Song Thrush and my colleague found reference to a 19th century Russian ornithologist “Sergei Buturlin“ who on various expeditions into Siberia, had “found” a putative race of Song Thrush which he called “Natalie“, although promoted as such it was never widely accepted?

On the strength of this information albeit incomplete, myself and Charles Fentiman visited Tring Herts. where we studied the many skins on display and found a particular bird that had been procured in Verkhoyansk, Siberia during the late 19th century, which showed a remarkable resemblance to the imaged 2008 UK bird.

This may all be a subjective coincidence however...if there are any Soviet ornithologists “out there”, that might be able to shed some light on Sergei Buturlin’s “Natalie”....ie what did it look like and from what part of Siberia was it procured?
I for one would be most interested.

PS.... Images 1-3 the 2008 London bird, 4th image is Chinese Song Thrush and 5th image nominate T.philomelos for comparison.

Cheers
 

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THE_FERN

Well-known member
Just to note that in pic 2 it appears to have a yellow coloured twig in its bill. This accentuates the latter's yellowish appearance making it seem more like redwing. I'm not sure [given resolution] that this is present in the other pics.
 

KenM

Well-known member
Just to note that in pic 2 it appears to have a yellow coloured twig in its bill. This accentuates the latter's yellowish appearance making it seem more like redwing. I'm not sure [given resolution] that this is present in the other pics.
The yellow you refer to...is the bill base?

Cheers
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
The ‘yellow’ looks like the bill base to me too. As far as moult, February would be odd time to be looking very worn - they would have a complete pb moult or partial pj moult in July/August so early to late summer would be the ‘worn’ period depending on when they finished breeding - I find it hard to attribute this to wear.

Further to Ken’s points, just for fun,
Song Thrush can undergo large movements in harsh weather as well as being regionally short distant movers so it’s not beyond the realms of reality that birds from eg Siberia could end up as far South as Greece but ringing data doesn't seem to support that theory very well. https://app.bto.org/ring/countyrec/resultsall/rec12000all.htm

The OP does look very strongly marked but I would put that down to variation (or even regional as Ken interestingly notes?). From ‘above’ marked supercilia on birds always create more a capped appearance than is seen on a lateral view so perhaps it is also partly the angle but images of this quality (no offence!) looses a lot of graduation so contrasts can be overly accentuated.

Here’s one from Greece with an equally strong face pattern dated 6 March
 

Alexander Stöhr

Well-known member
Zoom into P1100242.JPG and you should see what I'm seeing. At the end of the day, it's not important since this is clearly a song thrush.
Yes, thank you, you may be right and that could explain the striking bill (-colour) of this Song Thrush.
But I find the posts by Ken and Deb very interesting. I didnt know, that Song Thrush from Asia can have such a striking head pattern, either as vertical patterned ear-coverts vaguely reminiscent of Mistle Thrush or with a strong supercilium and eye-ring.
I remember a recent thread by you, Ken, where you showed a grey Song Thrush of suspected eastern/continental origin (I saw it and thought, what a striking bird, it would stand out in Germany, too). If this a regular pattern of "asian Song Trushes" I suspect that they can be identified as such, when occuring in Europe (???). Thanks for sharing, interesting thread!
 

Dimitra_v

Active member
Greece
An interesting image Dimitra_v

I presume that you don’t have any profile shots of the head pattern? Which to my eye is most interesting, in as much as the apparent open clear face pattern
which I’ve seen only once before in the UK and imaged, with most examples being indistinct in having a darker tonal wash over the face and falling within a narrow variance norm.
I’ve observed this face pattern (your bird) on a few images taken from overwintering Song Thrush in the Middle East which almost certainly emanate from Siberia.

When myself and a colleague encountered the UK bird in October 2008 we were somewhat taken aback by it’s appearance so much so, that we researched Song Thrush and my colleague found reference to a 19th century Russian ornithologist “Sergei Buturlin“ who on various expeditions into Siberia, had “found” a putative race of Song Thrush which he called “Natalie“, although promoted as such it was never widely accepted?

On the strength of this information albeit incomplete, myself and Charles Fentiman visited Tring Herts. where we studied the many skins on display and found a particular bird that had been procured in Verkhoyansk, Siberia during the late 19th century, which showed a remarkable resemblance to the imaged 2008 UK bird.

This may all be a subjective coincidence however...if there are any Soviet ornithologists “out there”, that might be able to shed some light on Sergei Buturlin’s “Natalie”....ie what did it look like and from what part of Siberia was it procured?
I for one would be most interested.

PS.... Images 1-3 the 2008 London bird, 4th image is Chinese Song Thrush and 5th image nominate T.philomelos for comparison.

Cheers

An interesting image Dimitra_v

I presume that you don’t have any profile shots of the head pattern? Which to my eye is most interesting, in as much as the apparent open clear face pattern
which I’ve seen only once before in the UK and imaged, with most examples being indistinct in having a darker tonal wash over the face and falling within a narrow variance norm.
I’ve observed this face pattern (your bird) on a few images taken from overwintering Song Thrush in the Middle East which almost certainly emanate from Siberia.

When myself and a colleague encountered the UK bird in October 2008 we were somewhat taken aback by it’s appearance so much so, that we researched Song Thrush and my colleague found reference to a 19th century Russian ornithologist “Sergei Buturlin“ who on various expeditions into Siberia, had “found” a putative race of Song Thrush which he called “Natalie“, although promoted as such it was never widely accepted?

On the strength of this information albeit incomplete, myself and Charles Fentiman visited Tring Herts. where we studied the many skins on display and found a particular bird that had been procured in Verkhoyansk, Siberia during the late 19th century, which showed a remarkable resemblance to the imaged 2008 UK bird.

This may all be a subjective coincidence however...if there are any Soviet ornithologists “out there”, that might be able to shed some light on Sergei Buturlin’s “Natalie”....ie what did it look like and from what part of Siberia was it procured?
I for one would be most interested.

PS.... Images 1-3 the 2008 London bird, 4th image is Chinese Song Thrush and 5th image nominate T.philomelos for comparison.

Cheers
Thank you for your reply. Yes, There is a large amount of thrushes wintering in Greece, and this one was seen during the winter so there is a chance the thrush was from very far north :)
 

KenM

Well-known member
https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/201072511 this video of a song thrush that I found is strikingly similar to the one I saw. What is more, this video of the song thrush is located about 40 minutes from where I saw the mystery thrush. Yes, they two observations are years apart, but it's probably many thrushes that migrate in our region
Thank you for the video clip Dimitra_v: It has answered my original concern (2008 London bird) regarding the open face pattern and the lateral throat stripe, diverging into a parallel before rejoining the striations further down the chest. It would appear that the patterning is of the same type, unlike typical Western European T.philomelos. Perhaps more research into this taxon might reveal “real“ differences across the cline, particularly across Siberia, where I believe your birds and the 2008 London bird emanated from.

Many thanks again...most informative. 🙂
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
...we researched Song Thrush and my colleague found reference to a 19th century Russian ornithologist “Sergei Buturlin“ who on various expeditions into Siberia, had “found” a putative race of Song Thrush which he called “Natalie“, although promoted as such it was never widely accepted?

...if there are any Soviet ornithologists “out there”, that might be able to shed some light on Sergei Buturlin’s “Natalie”....ie what did it look like and from what part of Siberia was it procured? I for one would be most interested.

I was looking at this thread just for self-education, and have nothing to contribute re the ID. But is this 'Natalie' not the recognised subspecies of western and central Siberia (according to 'Birds of East Asia) T. p. nataliae? Birds of the World says, 'Race nataliae very similar to nominate' and also 'nataliae is very slightly larger and paler, rump more uniform with upperparts.'
 

Andy Hurley

All nations have the right to govern themselves
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Perhaps more research into this taxon might reveal “real“ differences across the cline, particularly across Siberia, where I believe your birds and the 2008 London bird emanated from.
I'm inclined to agree with you.
 

KenM

Well-known member
I was looking at this thread just for self-education, and have nothing to contribute re the ID. But is this 'Natalie' not the recognised subspecies of western and central Siberia (according to 'Birds of East Asia) T. p. nataliae? Birds of the World says, 'Race nataliae very similar to nominate' and also 'nataliae is very slightly larger and paler, rump more uniform with upperparts.'
Thanks MacNara,
I suspect your web navigation abilities are better than mine.
I’m surprised that the differences between ‘nataliae’ and nominate as stated seem to be so minimal?
When the “type” I’ve high-lighted appears to be so cosmetically different?
An image of nataliae would be good, are there any?

Cheers
 

Grahame Walbridge

Well-known member
Andy, the taxon nataliae is recognised by authorities but I repeat, differences from nominate are widely stated to be subtle (presumably based on skin searches) and so I suspect it is hardly likely to be confirmed as a vagrant to the west, unless using mtDNA (assuming there is a difference) or by stable isotope analysis. It is also said to be larger but differences are only very slight e.g Demongin (2016) gives philomelos wing 111-127.5 versus nataliae 112-130.

https://russia.birds.watch/v2photo.php?l=en&s=057601600&n=1&t=707&si=sib

Ken, the suggestion that your bird is nataliae is fanciful to say the least, the images are of very poor quality not to mention out of focus, presumably video stills? But in any case, it does not look particularly pale.

Grahame
 
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KenM

Well-known member
Andy, the taxon nataliae is recognised by authorities but I repeat, differences from nominate are widely stated to be subtle (presumably based on skin searches) and so I suspect it is hardly likely to be confirmed as a vagrant to the west, unless using mtDNA (assuming there is a difference) or by stable isotope analysis. It is also said to be larger but differences are only very slight e.g Demongin (2016) gives philomelos wing 111-127.5 versus nataliae 112-130.

https://russia.birds.watch/v2photo.php?l=en&s=057601600&n=1&t=707&si=sib

Ken, the suggestion that your bird is nataliae is fanciful to say the least, the images are of very poor quality not to mention out of focus, presumably video stills? But in any case, it does not look particularly pale.

Grahame
Grahame, out of focus and poor quality I agree!...nevertheless the head pattern is unmistakably striking and as such appears to exceed the norm somewhat?
If by chance this is deemed within the variation for T.philomelos...I’d be somewhat surprised?

I’ve explained my reasoning up thread having asked for any images of “nataliae“ clearly not knowing as stated what the taxa looks like, therefore I’m not suggesting that these images are but merely if not, what they might represent...perhaps you might feel that you’re in a position to clarify?

Cheers
 
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