Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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[Mystery bird] Black Redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros a newly-fledged youngster, photographed at Arberes, Ariege, France. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

Image: Adrian White, June 2010 [larger view].

Nikon D40x with 70-300AF.

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

This is a very challenging mystery bird to identify, but the bird — a fledgling — is just so cute (and the picture is so nice) that I just had to share it with you. Any ideas as to what species this is?

Review all mystery birds to date.


  1. #1 blf
    June 19, 2010

    That’s the canary which escape the coal mine. It’s a rather miffed right now about being covered in coal dust.

  2. #2 Beardos
    June 19, 2010

    A tough call. If the hints of russet around the vent and on the outer tail feathers are any guide, then it could be a Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros. But it don’t quite look right.

  3. #3 clara
    June 19, 2010

    I just watched a beautiful documentary on these – the endangered Black Robin of New Zealand! The body shape, and yellow bottomed black feet are the mark.

  4. #4 psweet
    June 19, 2010

    A tip, Clara, from a couple of my own missteps here. It’s always worth checking the location of the photo.

  5. #5 kim
    June 19, 2010

    Juvenile blackbird.

  6. #6 Murray
    June 20, 2010

    How about a Spotless Starling? Murray

  7. #7 Jefrir
    June 20, 2010

    Young blackbirds are brown, not black, but it’s about the right shape and pattern. My first feeling is a redstart, but I’m not sure what the youngsters are like. It is very cute.

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