28 October 2011

Female Pied Wheatear - Sabkhat Al Fasl

I have been looking more into this issue of the Wheatear at Sabkhat Al Fasl (see previous post) and apart from the tail pattern everything else looked more like a Pied Wheatear especially the pale tipped (scaly) mantle feathers. As mentioned by Yoav Perlman as well as Sherpa on Surfbirds, the Jizz appeared wrong for Pied Wheatear and the bill is too small and fine. Yoav also mentioned that the tail pattern of Pied Wheatear (and Eastern Pied Wheatear) shows tremendous variation from almost white at one extreme to tail patterns like the bird we saw at the other extreme. If you exclude the tail pattern then everything falls into place for Pied Wheatear. Howard King mentioned the fact that Pied Wheatear show a pale throat/neck band which is not found on Finsch’s. Luckily we caught a first year female Pied Wheatear at Busaiteen in Bahrain on Friday and Howard was there, so he pointed out this feature and it was very obvious in the hand and can be seen in the field quite easily as well on one I looked at later. I really appreciate the help with this bird from Yoav Perlman, Sherpa and Howard King – now I know about the variation in tail pattern things should be easier next time?!
Pied Wheatear (female)
Pied Wheatear - Tail (female)