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Category: Sound identification

Keys for a sonogram-based identification

Some food for thoughts on bird imitations

Some food for thoughts on bird imitations

I have been recording a few unexpected imitations recently. Here are some surprising examples and some food for thoughts on this topic. Three examples : First let’s start with a well known imitator : This Calandra Lark was imitating not less than 20 different species, including Meadow Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Richard’s Pipit, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Skylark, Bee-eater, Barn Swallow, Linnet or Serin. Actually, this list of imitation fits pretty well to the list of the birds we have…

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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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