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Month: February 2017

A tale of three chiffchaffs

A tale of three chiffchaffs

Once upon a time… three little chiffchaffs arising confusion and perplexity among the birding community.     Yeah… They look quite similar, and that’s the problem. Back in 1996 there was virtually a single species of chiffchaff in mainland Europe. We had the widespread Common chiffchaff (Phylloscsopus collybita) in all Europe, and birds form the Iberian Peninsula were just considered as subspecies with a remarkably different song. Now it has been genetically proven that the Iberian chiffchaff (Phylloscopus ibericus) fully deserves its specific…

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The wagtail conundrum

The wagtail conundrum

Yellow wagtail’s phylogeny is confusing : there are many subspecies, that are visually much different from each other. Some taxa like tschutschensis are now often considered as distinct species, and Citrine wagtail (Motacilla citreola) forms a cryptic species complex with flava (i.e there are hybrids). Interestingly, the flight calls of these taxa are also different. Even if much caution must be taken regarding a sound-based subspecific identification, the following sonograms should help to point out some differences. Beware of song notes that can be…

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Identification of pluvialis plovers

Identification of pluvialis plovers

In this article we’re going to deal with the sound identification of the four “Pluvialis” plover : Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola) American Golden plover (Pluvialis dominica) Eurasian Golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria) Pacific Golden plover (Pluvialis fulva) The four species produce diagnostic flight calls and alarm calls. As the visual identification is often difficult (the best criteria being the axillaries and underwing covert), vocalizations can help to confirm the identification. 1.Grey plover The call is a long continuous whistling call : A…

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