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Bird news from Vietnam, from Vietnam's resident and visiting birders.

10 October 2014

More autumn migrants

I check out almost every day the fall migrants at the Botanical Gardens. No great surprise there, a trickle of migrants rather than a flood but still a feeling that anything is possible. Just need to be at the right place at the right time!

Spotted recently in this green oasis in the middle of the big city my first Thrushes of the season - Orange-headed and Blue Whistling Thrush -, also my first Siberian Rubythroat, Hill Blue/Chinese Blue Flycatchers and female Fujian Niltava, a pair of Asian Koels, a female Blue-and-White Flycatcher, to name but a few.

Male Orange-headed Thrush in bright morning light

                                 A male Chinese Blue/Hill Blue (glaucicomans/banyumas) Flycatcher* (PHOTO 1)

Glaucicomans and banyumas are apparently unidentifiable on field views alone (in fact I have contradictory informations about this ID issue), however, the songs of the two are noticeably different - unusable for migrant birds of course! According to some experienced birders, glaucicomans's leg is black-brown as the banyumas' leg is pinkish. I don't know how well it works...

*See discussion in comments section

So, pinkish or not pinkish? Well..... (PHOTO 2)*

Sits quietly on low perches, hunt near to ground

Female Blue-and-White Flycatcher, same hunting strategy : catch terrestrial bugs by dropping to the ground from a low perch

Another male glaucicomans/banyumas, showing a weird throat (PHOTO 3)
A bird with very pale pink legs so presumably a banyumas (Hill Blue Flycatcher)**

                                                                            (PHOTO 3)**

** Phil Round identified it without any doubt as a first-winter male Chinese Blue Flycatcher C. glaucicomans (see discussion in comments section)

A male Siberian Rubythroat - always a thrill to spot this one!

Female Blue-and-White & Dark-sided Flycatcher (real photo, not artificial composition)

-B&W : "Hey mate, how is your migration? Everything's ok?”
-Dark-sided : "Yehh, great park, isn't it! But I am a bit fed up with the hairy paparazzi over there. He keeps following us everywhere!"
-B&W : "Don't worry, I know him, he was there last year. He is a bit crazy but he wouldn't hurt a fly. Just pose nicely, smile and say cheeese..."

Dark-sided Flycatcher - the one of the shot above

A smart juv. Dark-sided Flycatcher

 Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Passage migrant male & female Asian Koels, feeding together in the canopy of a fig tree
Autumn offers fun and easy birding at the fruiting trees 

1 comment:

  1. Sent a mail to Phil Round to have his opinion concerning the glaucicomans/banyumas Flycatchers. He kindly answered me this (thanks to him !) :

    “Glaucicomans and banyumas are in fact well distinguishable. Male glauciomans have much more blue on the sides of the throat, extending much further below the jawline and beneath the bill, as can be clearly seen in your photos. So instead of a broad, gradually tapering, wedge of orange extending from the breast to (almost) the bases of the bill with only a little black on the chin/bill base as in Hill Blue, what you have in glaucicomans is a broad wedge of orange that abruptly narrows to a much narrower orange wedge on the throat/breast junction. This can be clearly seen in your photos 3 and 4, both of which show a first-winter male glaucicomans without doubt. We have much more trouble distinguishing glaucicomans from the various races of rubeculoides, here. From Hill Blue is much less of a problem.
    Your photos 1 and 2 are much more interesting. These do not look like the expected race of banyumas (C. banyumas whitei) to me, for two reasons.
    1) The unmoulted juvenile wing feathers are much browner than I am used to seeing in 1w males here. (I have always associated such strongly brown wings with glaucicomans)
    2) The extensive yellow gape flange and yellowish base to the lower mandible, Again, the gape flange (maybe not the mandible) is tyical of 1W glaucicomans, but not banyumas.
    I just wonder whether these birds might be magnirostris instead of whitei? This seems unlikely as the bill does not look particularly long or swollen. I wonder whether instead this is an undescribed subspecies of banyumas, or whether whitei varies in different parts of its range? So far as we know, no races of Hill Blue in Thailand have a complete Post-juvenile moult, so that cannot be the reason for the less brown wings of Thai birds compared with yours. The attached paper on Cyornis magnirostris does not seem to touch on the characters of first-winter male magnirostris, but you might find it helpful, nonetheless. It would be interesting to try and trap some birds and collect feathers from them.
    Anyway, this is interesting stuff. Keep me informed on future developments ».