• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Robin or flycatcher with yellow below (1 Viewer)

My wife saw what she described as a robin type bird with yellow below, brown back, no superciliary or wing bars, dark thin bill, like a robin in profile, brown on crown/head. It did not behave like a warbler and was just like a robin in its movements. It did not raise or lower its tail, so held it like a robin's. It seemed to be interested in the insects on the pile of apples in the recycling bin. It had some pale white in the belly area, so was not completely yellow underneath. It stayed motionless on the handle of a small recycling bin in the middle of the garden for about 30 seconds and behaved like a robin.
This was in our garden in greater London yesterday afternoon. I did not see any detail on the bird, but saw it in slilhouette and it flew up to the apple tree with a straight flight and looked in profile like a robin, tail medium length, perhaps slightly longer than a robin's. I saw it look brown above.
My son also saw it in flight and thought he saw some brown hatching on the back with greyer at the sides.
I went through a lot of common species to establish what it was not, as she is not a birder, and we quickly ruled out the commoner species and so I was left with only rare birds.
She saw the picture of female Siberian Blue Robin and thought it similar, so the yellow colouration could have been more buff possibly, but more yellow than buff. The tail looked dark - not blue. She felt it was too yellow though for this.
We went through the sizes and she thought bigger than a house sparrow. On further questioning she thought it could have been a bit smaller.
I showed her a picture of a female redstart, which seemed similar, except for the yellow below.
She also thought female red-breasted flycatcher was similar in profile, except again for the yellow.
I guess we will never know what it really was but it seems an intriguing bird.
I spent the afternoon looking out for it but to no avail and as she is a non-birder I could not be certain it was not a commoner bird.
What did worry me was that she was certain she had never seen it before and was quite excited about it.
Any comments welcome.
 

skatebirder

Well-known member
In some lighting conditions, Blackcaps can look yellow below, although never bright yellow. The rest of the plumage features could fit Blackcap.
David
 
Thanks,
I don't think it was a blackcap, as she says that there was no contrast between the brown of the crown and the rest of the upperparts. It was uniform in colour from the head to the back area - with the back being brown.
The light conditions would be unlikely to make the bird show yellow, as it was in the shade of the tree.
 
No, as the bird did not have any speckling at all on the lower parts - it was just pure yellow, save for the paler belly area. i think a sketch might help.
 
Thanks.
I have quizzed her again and it was yellow buff on the side and flanks and breast with no clear speckling at a range of 80 feet.
I asked her to look through the book of birds of Thailand and she picked out Siberian Blue Robin immature female, although there were no specks on the upper breast visible.
We will carry on keeping an eye out in case it returns.
 

Paul Longland

Well-known member
Anyone seen the Yank Redstart on Shetland today?3:)

Female common redstart perhaps in a funny light?

Juv willow w/chiff

Clutching at straws really without a pic but certainly sounds interesting.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Thanks.
I have quizzed her again and it was yellow buff on the side and flanks and breast with no clear speckling at a range of 80 feet.
I asked her to look through the book of birds of Thailand and she picked out Siberian Blue Robin immature female, although there were no specks on the upper breast visible.
We will carry on keeping an eye out in case it returns.

Why on earth would you assume that it's a 'mega' and not instead look through the British bird books which is I'm sure, with patience, is where it will be found?

Sounds like you've had a ropey view of a bird that you can't immediately identify, that does not mean it's from Asia!

That comparison is starting to sound like a Redstart to me?


A
 
Last edited:
I expect that you are right and that it was not anything - my wife saw if for 30 seconds or so and was convinced it was something unusual. I did actually go through all the common birds first with her and nothing fitted the robin jizz and yellow below. I don't think it fitted anything common I could think of, hence the post to see what other people think.
I gave her all the books that might have the bird in it and she was convinced it was the female Siberian Blue Robin this morning, when she came across the picture. I take the line that it is best to let people know that you might have found something unusual, in case it turns up again, in case more people can then be alerted before it is too late.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
. I take the line that it is best to let people know that you might have found something unusual, in case it turns up again, in case more people can then be alerted before it is too late.

Very true, if you posted pics in six months time of a Siberian Blue Robin, eye-brows would be raised and maybe blood pressure too!

Try and get a shot if it's seen again.


A
 
Last edited:

coaltit

Well-known member
United Kingdom
Why not add to the mix an escaped bird I,ve seen plenty over the years, but I will admit not like the one being Mentioned, mine have either been flyovers or in flight at least nothing like a chat mind.
 

stevethehydra

Well-known member
I wonder if it could be a Robin with abnormal pigmentation - the red/orange breast "faded" to yellow? Could potentially be caused by either genetic or nutritional factors.
 

Simon Wates

Well-known member
Thanks. As there was no sign today I expect it has moved on.

Shame! Moral of the story; next time your better half sees an unusual bird get even a crappy piccy on the mobile ;)

Its very hard to convey birds seen and not identified, even for birders often. A recurring example are "yellow" Corn Buntings. loads of them! Of course they are in fact bright buff - in sunshine/bright light. Certainly throws ideas for folk trying to work it out. If it was actually yellow below, like a banana, then you could maybe look at american warblers, or tanagers, but it would be more likely to be an escaped captive bird than that by far (or Siberian Blue Robin).

Mind you, its that time of year....

edit:..and Steve's suggestion is a good one too?
 
Last edited:
Can I just add that when having a phone (most people have one on them most of the time) and/or a camera with you, remember to take a video of the bird as well because they move so quickly that you don't always have the time to get a good shot whereas videoing the bird will give you more opportunities to capture its characteristics and an idea of its scale/dimensions - and give you the option to upload screen captures too.
 

KenM

Well-known member
Just seen this, an intriguing account be it from a birder, or non-birder, whichever the case. FWIW over the last 40 years (at two addresses) I've been called by my wife on just the two occasions (when I've been at the front of the house...and her at the back)....and she too is a non-birder, to come quickly, as she's got something odd looking? On both occasions I hot-footed it and to my total surprise a Wheatear on the first occasion! habitat completely wrong totally incongruous, and on the second occasion (she was on the phone to a friend at the time) she shouted out does a Waxwing have "orange" beneath the tail area? I saw the first but not the second. When I questioned her regarding the latter, she confirmed on size and general cosmetics...also the all important crest. I told her that I would have to "run it past" the all important jury of "one...who wasn't there", needless to say it got the rubber stamp of approval and is included on the all important garden list. The moral to this is that...when non-birders go shopping, they don't pick up bananas when they want oranges cos apart from shape...they're different colours. :eek!: I think post 15 was the most helpful and objective comment to date, for general interest Herald Petrel, how far was your wife from the subject?

Cheers
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top