[Mystery bird] Phainopepla, Phainopepla nitens, photographed in Arizona. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow]
Image: Richard Ditch, 2006 [larger view].
Date Time Original: 2006:05:07 07:33:04
Exposure Time: 1/200
Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.
Rick Wright, Managing Director of WINGS Birding Tours Worldwide, writes:
There are birds that are instantly recognizable once we “know” them, but those same species can be puzzling when encountered for the first time or out of range. In the American southwest, a long-tailed, dusky bird perched at the tip of a dead twig is often a Phainopepla, the darkest and most northerly of the silkies.
Shape identifies this bird right away to birders who are the least bit familiar with the species. In addition to the long tail and short wing, note the small, markedly square head, the spiky crest, and the short, rather undistinguished bill of a frugivore and flycatcher.
In the field, we would likely hear this bird giving its soft, sweet hooting call, and when it flushed, we’d see the bird fly off in a distinctive stuttering flight, stalling mid-air, then recovering with a few fast wingbeats.