Atypical female Semicollared Flycatcher…

And other interesting stuff from Turkey

Yesterday, 31st of June, while leading a birding tour in NE Turkey, I came across an interesting-looking female Semicollared Flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata). The bird was paired with a typical male Semicollared, and 2 other “classic” females were found breeding in the same area too.

The photos are not good as the bird was a bit distant, and given I was leading a trip I couldn´t spend as much time as I would have liked with the bird. However,  I think it´s interesting to show the photos here, and the non-classic features can be seen pretty well in the pics.

Amongst other things, the bird showed no white at all in the MCs, not even a hint of it, It had almost no white at all in the tips of the GCs ( basically only a tiny spot in the outermost ones), and It showed very little white in the base of the primaries.  All these gave the wing a very plain, almost uniformly-gray look at a distance.

Head colour, tertial and tail pattern and call were all typical semitorquata though.

According to published material, rarely some female Semicollared Fs, like this one, might lack the typical “second wing-bar”, but they are certainly not common and could cause serious identification problems if seen in Western Europe.

Flycatcher expert Brian Small also commented that He has seen a female Semi-c in Bulgaria which matches this bird closely,  and  speculated on it being a worn 3cy female, which could perhaps apply to this bird too, so maybe something age-related.

3 photos of the bird



And a typical female from the same place, below, showing obvious tips to the MCs and GCs, and a relatively large white primary patch.


Another bird seen yesterday in the area which, if  non-calling and seen in Western Europe would be almost impossible to identify is this drab Green Warbler (Phylloscopus nitidus), showing almost no yellow at all in the supercilium, throat or cheek, and with drab-green upperparts, thus quite similar to the average looking Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides)


And last, a quick note regarding some of the comments on the presumed Asian Black-winged Kites, ssp. vociferus, that I saw last week and Martin posted about. There´s also an old post on the ID of this form, dealing with the Israeli birds, in BF which is quite interesting and worth reading.

First, the birds seen were full adults, and second, basically, unlike the majority of nominate birds, vociferus have very dark secondaries, contrasting with the very pale/whitish undersurface of the GCs (although beware of light effects!)

After having checked quite a lot of photos of nominate birds and of course seen hundreds of them, it´s clear that only a very small minority might show dark(ish) secondaries that could match asian birds.  The Turkish birds show very dark, contrasting secondaries, as can be seen in the photo below. Not forgetting either that the birds were seen in Eastern Turkey, then I think it´s fair to say that these birds are most likely vociferus.

One of the turkish birds here, showing obvious contrast between secondaries and GCs


Compare it with a nominate bird from Spain (Photo: Juan Sagardia), showing almost no contrast at all.


And last, an easy to identify bird, especially when seen like this:

A fine male Caucasian Black Grouse, seen this morning.


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2 Responses to Atypical female Semicollared Flycatcher…

  1. Pingback: Birding Frontiers + 1 | Birding Frontiers

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