Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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[Mystery bird] leucistic Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus, photographed in Arizona. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow]

Image: Richard Ditch, 18 January 2009 [larger view].

Date Time Original: 2009:01:18 08:46:49
Exposure Time: 1/750
F-Number: 8.00
ISO: 320

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

Review all mystery birds to date.


  1. #1 John Callender
    April 27, 2009

    Well, it looks like a leucistic icterid. I want to call it a female Brewer’s blackbird, but the beak seems a tad heavy for that. Maybe an immature male red-winged blackbird, in the process of molting into his adult (leucistic) plumage?

    Hm. Well, I have to pick something, so I’m going to pick my first guess: female Brewer’s. I’m not at all sure about it, though. Neat shot!

  2. #2 Albatrossity
    April 27, 2009

    Cool bird, Rich!

    Plumage-wise, that bird does not resemble anything in any field guide, so I’m assuming that it is a leucistic individual.

    Structure-wise, it looks like a female Red-winged Blackbird. Bill proportions are right, and the non-albino feather tracts on the back are consistent with that ID.

  3. #3 pk1154
    April 28, 2009

    I agree with Albatrossity.

    Except for the anomalous white and off-white feathers this looks like a female Red-winged blackbird, based on the rufous edging on the back feathers and the general proportions of the head and bill.

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