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

Andy Hurley

All nations have the right to govern themselves
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
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.

I think we need a good photos of ssp nataliae and more info on frequency, range and migration. Perhaps I wasn't clear as reading back, Ken made 2 statements. I wasn't saying it was this ssp, I was saying that more evidence was needed. And may be also using a bit of a wordplay about cline and incline.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
I think we need a good photos of ssp nataliae and more info on frequency, range and migration. Perhaps I wasn't clear as reading back, Ken made 2 statements. I wasn't saying it was this ssp, I was saying that more evidence was needed. And may be also using a bit of a wordplay about cline and incline.
I have noticed that we could do with more photographic additions of identifiable sub-species generally to Opus with work on sub-species identification across the board. This is probably even more important for birding in the States or Asia for example where knowledge of sub-species and their range can a crucial aspect of being able to identify a species at all. Additionally, with taxonomic boundaries being often so fluid in a lot of species, it can be hard to keep up with the identification criteria - frequently ’good’ ornithology requires at least a working knowledge of how to separate, identify and plot occurrences and movements/ranges of sub-species. Platforms like ebird are already doing well in some areas and do encourage reporting to sub-species level. From a conservation and citizen data point of view, I think this is a really valid contribution birders can make, (let alone good preparation for those all important future splits that will increase listing potential 😉).

It does require more people with Grahame’s experience and patience, to be willing to engage with identification of birds to sub-species level, unfortunately they are in short supply! - Hats off to Ken anyway, for trying so often, at least, to initiate the ’conversation’, even with all the inevitable red herrings and impossibly unclear images!

(And of course, hats off to all the Opus editors who already do such a sterling job of building our encyclopaedia on BF and the photographers who are kind enough to provide the images. 🙂)
 

Grahame Walbridge

Well-known member
Deb, I don't have any experience of nataliae just what I am gleaning from published literature. Re ranges, IOC gives philomelos Europe (except w), n Turkey, the Caucasus and n Iran and nataliae w, c Siberia while Shirihai & Svensson (2018) gives Europe except Britain, w Siberia, n Mongolia, Caucasus, Transcaucasia and n Iran. They do not include nataliae, since there is no evidence it has not occurred in the W.Pal, but do make reference to it as being a subtle race (less distinct than philomelos or clarkei) which differs a little at the eastern end of the cline in Siberia. You may notice, S&S are at odds with IOC by including birds in w Siberia and n Mongolia as nominate (based on examination of specimens?) therefore, it leaves me wondering if they are doubting the validity of nataliae as a valid taxon?

Plenty of images here https://russia.birds.watch/v2taxon.php?s=707&l=en including many examples from c Siberia which include a singing bird in Jun (presumably resident) from near Krasnojarsk (Igor Latysh page 2) along with several examples from Irkutsk, but nothing that stands out as particularly different to nominate IMHO.

Grahame

 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
I am attaching a copy of the illustration of 'nataliae' from Mark Brazil's 'Birds of East Asia'. I hope this counts as 'fair use'; if not I'll delete it if requested. The illustration is credited to Ren Hathway.

Song Thrush is a very rare vagrant to Japan. One Japanese book I have mentions one record from 1987. Of two excellent recent guides, one uses photos from Holland, and one doesn't mention Song Thrush at all.

However, there was a record in 2014, and here is a link to photos of that bird in Neil Davidson's blog (he's a BF member, but doesn't pop in very often). One would have to presume that vagrants to Japan are more likely to be this T. p. nataliae than any other ssp.

This link to a blog by another friend of mine (in Japanese) shows photos of a bird in 2017 and also (presumably the same bird as Neil's) in 2014.

Hope this helps.
Song Thrush Nataliae.jpg
 
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Grahame Walbridge

Well-known member
Many thanks Mac. Firstly, Wren's illustration depicts a bird that looks no different that nominate, in fact I have handled colder looking migrants (nominate) in the UK! The images that you have provided are very helpful and confirm my suspicions that, assuming the Japanese birds are nataliae (as are the Russian examples linked) this 'taxon' is at best very subtle, the mantle perhaps very slightly paler than the average western nominate, therefore perhaps more suggestive of a clinal difference IMHO.

Grahame
 

KenM

Well-known member
Yes thanks Mac! that’s cleared up (for me) a long running saga with “nataliae”. However it does beg the question as to the origins of the imaged birds up thread.

If “nataliae” merited consideration as a racial split then such “strong” head patterned birds surely need some investigation. Indeed the whole T.p. complex across the cline is worthy of scrutiny.

In North America...Grey Cheeked Thrush and Bicknell’s Thrush spring to mind as two almost identical species several thousand miles apart that I wouldn’t like to attempt to separate away from their respective breeding ranges.

Cheers
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
Although I said earlier that I have nothing to contribute about the ID of the OP's bird, nonetheless, having looked around, I have to say that I can't see why it's particularly thought to be outside of normal variation. It's a low resolution photograph for one thing (we can't see any crown streaking and we can see pixelization). So I've darkened it a bit. And I've also posted a photo of a Song Thrush I took in Paris ten years or so ago, which looks to me the same. My photo shows a bird which appears to still have some fledgling yellow gape, but whether the OP's bird has this or has a yellow underbill as an adult (rather than a twig in its bill, which was suggested, and with which I now agree as it happens) doesn't make much difference.

[NB: most digital photographers don't seem to understand how it works, so they think that the photo produced by the camera is the 'real' thing, and that if they adjust it on editing software then it's less real. But the jpg or tif produced by the camera depends partly on the company which produced the camera (just as kodak film and fujifilm stressed different areas of the spectrum and produced different outputs) and the additional settings that the user put in to the camera (saturation, contrast, sharpness and so on). Which is, by the by, why it annoys me when people put photos up for ID on BF which are too dark to see, for example, when they could easily have lightened them at home to get the necessary ID details.]

BF Song Thrush ID 2021.jpg 110406011 Paris.JPG
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
I'm also going to post a comment on Ken's bird in post #6. The photos are very small and seem to be from video grabs, so very unreliable quality as to colouring and so on. But the pattern is indeed striking, and does seem to resemble Chinese Thrush (a central China resident bird) which is shown in photo 4 in the thread.

So, I blew up Ken's photos, and I present them in the same order that he did.

A) Looking at photo 1, I wondered if the pattern was the result of a) the camera washed out some of the colouring of the bird to give a strange face pattern; or b) the bird was leucistic, lacking perhaps yellow, hence making other parts look whiter than they would.

B) If you look at photo 1, you see a huge white supercilium stretching over the eye down to the neck. And above this, there is a grey/brown cap. BUT, if you look at photo 2, where the bird is turning its head towards us, the 'grey cap' is actually a grey bar, and the crown of the bird's head is also white. I wonder if this bird isn't simply diseased?

C) And if I look at photo 3, I can't find the arrowhead markings of Song Thrush, but just random lines?

Again, just comments. But I'd be interested to hear what others think.

BF Ken Thrush 202101.jpg BF Ken Thrush 202102.jpg BF Ken Thrush 202103.jpg
 

pianoman

duck and diver, bobolink and weaver
Song Thrush; the eyestripe is nowhere near prominent enough, and the red on a redwing is actually on the flanks rather than the underwing.
Agree with Song Thrush, with a slightly unusual head pattern. But I would say that the red on a Redwing does extend to the underwing.
 

KenM

Well-known member
I'm also going to post a comment on Ken's bird in post #6. The photos are very small and seem to be from video grabs, so very unreliable quality as to colouring and so on. But the pattern is indeed striking, and does seem to resemble Chinese Thrush (a central China resident bird) which is shown in photo 4 in the thread.

So, I blew up Ken's photos, and I present them in the same order that he did.

A) Looking at photo 1, I wondered if the pattern was the result of a) the camera washed out some of the colouring of the bird to give a strange face pattern; or b) the bird was leucistic, lacking perhaps yellow, hence making other parts look whiter than they would.

B) If you look at photo 1, you see a huge white supercilium stretching over the eye down to the neck. And above this, there is a grey/brown cap. BUT, if you look at photo 2, where the bird is turning its head towards us, the 'grey cap' is actually a grey bar, and the crown of the bird's head is also white. I wonder if this bird isn't simply diseased?

C) And if I look at photo 3, I can't find the arrowhead markings of Song Thrush, but just random lines?

Again, just comments. But I'd be interested to hear what others think.

View attachment 1373165 View attachment 1373166 View attachment 1373167
Although 13 years on Mac, the site rarely attracted Song Thrush, this was during a period when Song Thrushes (locally were a bit thin on the ground) the site was Canary Wharf some 8 miles away.

It certainly looked and moved per how, as one might expect a furtive Song Thrush to behave.
As you have commented, the head pattern is more like Chinese Song Thrush, however clearly Turdus philomelos with a not dissimilar countenance to CST.

Having seen the skin of an almost replica bird at Tring taken at Verkhoyansk (late 19th Century) did make me wonder if....ST of that remote area might share morphological similarities with CST further South?

Being a remote area (no doubt of difficult access) and not just the terrain, I suspect scope for sampling and research would be somewhat limited.

Cheers
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
Although 13 years on Mac, the site rarely attracted Song Thrush, this was during a period when Song Thrushes (locally were a bit thin on the ground) the site was Canary Wharf some 8 miles away.

It certainly looked and moved per how, as one might expect a furtive Song Thrush to behave.
As you have commented, the head pattern is more like Chinese Song Thrush, however clearly Turdus philomelos with a not dissimilar countenance to CST.

Having seen the skin of an almost replica bird at Tring taken at Verkhoyansk (late 19th Century) did make me wonder if....ST of that remote area might share morphological similarities with CST further South?

Being a remote area (no doubt of difficult access) and not just the terrain, I suspect scope for sampling and research would be somewhat limited.

Cheers
Hi Ken: I wasn't really trying to challenge your ID of your bird. It was simply that it really does look different to Song Thrush (much more than the bird that started this thread) and I was thinking out loud about reasons why this might be so which are more simple and likely than that an individual of a bird resident in central China should suddenly decide to visit Britain. (Although I do wonder and worry about whether, with globalisation and the worldwide illegal animal trade, we will ever be able to be sure about the natural arrival of some unexpected birds and other animals.)
 

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