[Mystery bird] Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Tyrannus forficatus, photographed near Brookings, South Dakota. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow]
Image: Terry Sohl, 18 October 2008 [larger view].
Photo taken with Canon 40D, 400 5.6L.
Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.
Rick Wright, Managing Director of WINGS Birding Tours Worldwide, writes:
My usual admonition to start at the rear seems just a bit too obvious with this bird: the combination of a long, forficate tail and bright salmon on the flanks and belly identifies this Scissor-tailed Flycatcher without a hint of hesitation.
Many birders who haven’t made this species’ acquaintance might think of Fork-tailed Flycatcher as a possible confusion species. In fact, though, the most similar bird is actually the Western Kingbird, which shares with the scissor-tailed a pale head with faint mask and a set of somewhat ludicrous popping vocalizations. Even the birds themselves get confused (or desperate): they interbreed with some frequency, particularly as the range of Scissor-tailed Flycatcher spreads north and east