Atlas or Iberian Flycatcher?

Getting Closer

All we need is ONE good recording!

I have been frustrated having tried on a couple of occasions to record this bird’s call. Others have had some success at least in hearing it; indeed it appears the bird both calls and on occasionally sings as well. Delighted when Scott Mayson put a comment on the blog saying his video had caught some voice. Here it is:


You can see the throat moving as if singing on couple occasions but hard to hear what’s going on for sure. Sent the link to Magnus R. last night, part of our ongoing discussion on the bird. “A good recording, particularly of the ‘wit’-type call will do it”, says he. Intriguingly, he made out one call type only which, may have been the flycatcher. On Scott’s video the bird appears to be singing around 0:47- 0:50. At 0:53 a call can be heard which MAY be the bird, and which is very like … Iberian Pied Flycatcher. Now let me spell out the  huge caveat- this is based on the flimsiest of material – a single poorly audible call on a video.  Wouldn’t want to say that’s the ID nailed at all. Not even sure where the ‘heard call’ is coming from and its all a bit windy and noisy (not Scotts’ fault!).

Hopefully the point is made: this could well be identifiable, as I have been chirping on to anyone who would listen a good recording is entirely possible and the bird can potential be identified to level of  Atlas or Iberian (or something else). Doc Martin’s DNA results will be fascinating, and at this stage are the only way it’s going to be identified. Be good to get nice audio recording and identify it that way too.

Whats do I think it is?

Some have eliminated the Iberian Pied Flycatcher possibility based on one biometric measurement. Having seen how unreliable that kind of ID can be I don’t rate it. Get a larger small sample size of Iberian’s measured by different person and it’s all OK. I rate the hybrid possibility (Collared X Pied) actually a lot less than I did at the start. Seems unlikely to me that Britain’s (first?) obvious male hybrid Pied/ Collared would look virtually exactly like the 2 southern taxa (Atlas and Iberian) as hybrids are so variable.

So I am backing the Atlas or Iberian horse. The 2 may NOT be separable on plumage but may be identifiable by calls (and DNA). How ’bout you?

About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
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3 Responses to Atlas or Iberian Flycatcher?

  1. Peter says:

    Good evening Martin,

    Alan Lewis visited Morocco over the last weekend and photographed Atlas Fly. at Ifrane, an image being on Surfbirds:

  2. Aleix Comas says:

    There has been a recent bird in nort east Spain on April 30th and May 1st. The following link has photos and discussion on the id (in Spanish). The conclusion is that Iberian can’t be excluded until futher research can determine Iberian variability:

    Click to access RBAR_000005.pdf

  3. Martin Garner says:

    Thanks Peter and Aleix, very helpful- especially that the Spanish are being circumspect about their bird

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