HYBRID RED-BACKED x RED-TAILED/ DAURIAN SHRIKE (2019)

Figure 1-2. Hybrid Red-backed (Lanius collurio) Shrike x Red-tailed/Daurian Shrike (L. phoenicuroides/ isabellinus), male, Tsavo West, Kenya, 9 December 2012. Tail pattern largely as Red-backed (note growing blackish central tail feather), but with the white turned into rufous. Grey nek and cap as male Red-backed. Cold brown back perhaps more like Turkestan, but orange wash on flanks again resemble one of the isabelline shrikes (underparts with pinkish wash in Red-backed).

In the fond memory of David Pearson. It was during work for his project that I found this bird.

This page was added for the sole reason to give this interesting bird a more useful spot than the hard drive it was stored for nearly seven years.

Little Bunting
The most interesting thing about this chapter is the sexing of birds. This could be done on the basis of lateral crown stripe: a new feature for me. Because of overlap between adult females and young males, birds should first be aged. The authors emphasize that this is their vision, and not necessarily the final answer to this matter. I found one in the field in October (Figure 4-5) of which I took reasonable pictures. The very rounded tail feathers look adult, as do the tertials and large coverts. The lateral crown stripe appears to be jet black and is separated from other feathers, such as the greyer back of the head. The orange-red crown stripe really stands out. Conclusion: according to this book this must be an adult male! The deep brown-red cheek - a variable feature according to this book - also fits that. So it works then? Well… how useful this really is, remains the question: based on this book I would label two "females" in Shirihai & Svensson (p546 both top right and bottom right) as males! The caption of one of these even mentions "safely identified as a female" because it has a relatively dull plumage for an adult bird. But is also has a jet black, strongly separated lateral crown stripe! The bird at the bottom right even has a pretty deeply coloured cheek, which I would be happy to call a male. Is this due to different insights, and if so, who should I believe? Or am I not interpreting this correctly? In any case, it is fascinating!

© 2018 by Vincent van der Spek