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Skyes's Warblers? Hesaraghatta Lake, Bangalore, India (1 Viewer)

rsriram9

Well-known member
Can you please help ID these two warblers? They are of two separate birds, in the same vicinity. Wondering if they could be Skyes's given pale legs and bill, presence in open, dry habitat bordering Hesaraghatta Lake, Bangalore, India. Thanks!
 

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Grahame Walbridge

Well-known member
In my haste earlier I overlooked the fact that 2 different individuals are involved here.

1. The rather bland face pattern and overall pallid appearance (including lack of contrast to tertials, remiges & rectrices), bill pattern and emarginated p6 looks good for Sykes's, although the bill is at the short end (within overlap range of Booted?). However, the pp seems rather long (6 tips showing?) in addition to the rather short tail which Andy has already remarked. It can be difficult judging pp especially when the wing is relaxed, as is the case here and, when it comes to judging tail length, the angle is unhelpful. On balance, I still favour Sykes's, though would like to see more images.
2. The combination of flared suprcilium, bill pattern (unless it's shadow?) + rather short tail would point to Booted but again would need to see more images.

Sykes's/Booted can be a particularly difficult pair to separate in the field and, arguably no easier from images, especially singles. It is worth noting, on occasion, they are inseparable in-the-hand such is the degree of overlap in wing formulae and biometrics in which case a feather sample would be required!

Grahame
 
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andyb39

Well-known member
2. The combination of flared suprcilium, bill pattern (unless it's shadow?) + rather short tail would point to Booted but again would need to see more images.

Agree about the short tail but P1 looks rather long for Booted?
 

Grahame Walbridge

Well-known member
I don't disagree Andy, but that is but a single feature when you have to compare the whole suite.

Sykes's p1 (3.5) 6-10 (12) +PC
Booted p1 2-8 +PC (from Demongin)

As can be seen there is much overlap so, Sykes's or top limit Booted?

Grahame
 

rsriram9

Well-known member
I don't disagree Andy, but that is but a single feature when you have to compare the whole suite.

Sykes's p1 (3.5) 6-10 (12) +PC
Booted p1 2-8 +PC (from Demongin)

As can be seen there is much overlap so, Sykes's or top limit Booted?

Grahame
Thanks, have added additional, better resolution images, hope these help.
 

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Brian J Small

Well-known member
I'm with Grahame here, I feel the first bird is probably more likely to be Sykes's - the hint of a more pointed bill, too perhaps - but it is hard to pin down why. The image has a yellow hue, which I have corrected for on the attached.

To illustrate the ID problems, if you head to ebird, search Sykes's Warbler and filter for India, you will find a mix of Sykes's, Booted and Blyth's Reed - and some that might be either... some are tailorbirds, etc...


Brian S
 

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Grahame Walbridge

Well-known member
Thanks Brian. With a difficult species pair such as this there is no substitute for prolonged observation in the field, in addition to plumage features, pay particular attention to structural appearance; simplified, Sykes's tend to look more Acrocphaline while Booted is more Phylloscopine in appearance. Further, note any differences in behaviour, such of choice of habitat, while paying attention (and noting) any wing or tail movements which are subtly different between the 2 species. Recording vocalisations is also a very useful tool to aid separation.

While many individuals are quite readily identifiable in the field (and from images) a small, but nonetheless significant percentage, are best left unidentified and recorded as Iduna sp.

Grahame
 

rsriram9

Well-known member
Thanks again Brain, Grahame!
I'm with Grahame here, I feel the first bird is probably more likely to be Sykes's - the hint of a more pointed bill, too perhaps - but it is hard to pin down why. The image has a yellow hue, which I have corrected for on the attached.

To illustrate the ID problems, if you head to ebird, search Sykes's Warbler and filter for India, you will find a mix of Sykes's, Booted and Blyth's Reed - and some that might be either... some are tailorbirds, etc...


Brian S
 

Grahame Walbridge

Well-known member
This case, involving a bird trapped in Wiltshire, UK in Oct 2019 serves to illustrate the issue of difficult birds discussed above. Expert opinion was divided and so BBRC (British Birds Rarities Committee) concluded it could not be identified to species level with certainty. In cases such as this a feather sample would be required for analysis to confirm ID.

https://westwiltsringinggroup.wordp...ed-sykes-warbler-spta-west-19th-october-2019/
https://westwiltsringinggroup.wordpress.com/2020/05/11/booted-sykess-warbler-update/

Grahame
 
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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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