Identification of First Winter Females
What species is depicted in the photo below?
This bird was found at Hamina city, south-east Finland by Eero Hietanen on 21st January 2015 and was still there yesterday afternoon (1st February). Photo Mika Bruun.
I did a naughty straw poll with some Flamborough regulars last night. Their response to this photo to a man/ woman: A Black-throated Thrush. It is (of course) a bit more interesting than that :).
See the video >>>HERE<<<
First winter female Red-throated Thrushes can be very similar in appearance to first winter female Black-throated Thrushes, unlike the other ages and stages which are more straightforward. Then there is the problem of hybrids and intergrades.
Thanks to Mika Bruun has been sharing discussion. I wonder if this is actually an OK first winter female Red-throated Thrush or at least if it is an intergrade/ hybrid, is at the Red-throated Thrush ‘ruficollis’ end of things?
Have a look why:
Snow lit from below, it nevertheless appears to actually have deep cinnamon/ reddish/ brownish in the breast markings. It’s also seems overall very weakly marked for Black-throated on the head and breast pattern, more akin to the first impression of female Red-throated, with strange warm wash across the whole breast.
Then you see the tail pattern and the world changes! It’s got plenty of pale orangey going on. While it has been argued that some (male?) Black-throated Thrushes can have some reddish in the tail- is this really normal for first winter female Black-throated? Is it extensive enough for first winter female Red-throated? The tail pattern would seem to at least put it into Red-throated territory.
The tail again. It also appears to have some reddishness going on in the rump/uppertial coverts.
So what is it? And I wonder what it calls like…
Specimens to compare
Thanks to Ian Lewington who dug out these slides from the Natural History Museum at Tring. These were used for an old and well known book which he illustrated.
I am more in the Red-throated(ish) Thrush camp, though it’s not as striking as some more obvious 1st winter female Red-throated. So then- it’s a subject I certainly need to learn about.
What say you?
Thanks very much to Mika Bruun, Petri Vainio and Ian Lewington