Monday, 10 January 2011

Female blackbird spotted...

I responded to a Surfbirds ID request this morning concerning a female Eurasian Blackbird. The bird shown in that thread looked very like a bird I had photographed a couple of days ago in the Hermitage of Braid, Edinburgh.

In bright sunshine this bird's breast showed rich tones with dark spots whereas the flanks and belly seemed noticeably greyer. Apparently birds in this plumage are probably first winter females.

At lunchtime I looked out into the garden and was surprised to see this bird - possibly the most spotted female Eurasian Blackbird that I have ever seen. Though, given how easy it is to ignore common species, I can not really be sure. Almost Song-Thrush-like in its breast, flank and belly spotting, this bird had the classic Eurasian Blackbird jizz - a rounded pot-bellied look. It was noticeably dominant over those first winter females (with plumage like that shown above) yet gave way to adult males, behaviour that is consistent with aging it as an adult female.

Sadly the combination of distance, poor light and snowy background mean that the shots are very poor although, if it hangs around, I may get more. Is this plumage common in female Eurasian Blackbirds? As always - I must look more closely in future.

Not to be outdone in the poor picture stakes, here is a first winter male Eurasian Blackbird in the garden today. Brown coverts and primaries will be replaced as he matures.

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