Mystery Bird: Northern Parula, Parula americana

tags: , , , ,

[Mystery birds] Northern Parula, Parula americana, photographed at Quintana and Beach, Texas. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow]

Image: Joseph Kennedy, 20 March 2009 [larger view].

Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope with tsn-pz camera eyepiece 1/1250s f/8.0 at 1000.0mm iso400.

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

Review all mystery birds to date.

More like this

tags: Northern Parula, Parula americana, birds, mystery bird, bird ID quiz [Mystery birds] Northern Parula, Parula americana, photographed at Quintana and Beach, Texas. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow] Image: Joseph Kennedy, 20 March 2009 [larger view]. Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope…
tags: mystery bird, identify this bird, birds, mystery bird, bird ID quiz [Mystery birds] Caspian Tern, Sterna caspia, photographed the Quintana Beach and Jetty area, Texas. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow] Image: Joseph Kennedy, 18 November 2008 [larger view]. Nikon D200 1/1250s f/8…
tags: Juvenile Yellow-crowned night-heron, Nycticorax violaceus, birds, mystery bird, bird ID quiz [Mystery bird] Juvenile Yellow-crowned night-heron, Nycticorax violaceus, photographed by Crab Road, Surfside, Texas. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow] Image: Joseph Kennedy, 12 February…
tags: Reddish Egret, Egretta rufescens, birds, mystery bird, bird ID quiz [Mystery bird] Reddish Egret, Egretta rufescens, photographed at Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary, Brazoria County, Texas. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours] Image: Joseph Kennedy, 15 July 2010 [larger view…

Wow, if it were moving really fast, it would look a lot more like all the other birds I can never identify.

I'm looking through my books (Petersons), totally at a loss.

My best guess: my eastern book shows the Black-Throated Green Warbler (male, breeding) as having a black lower neck, with a bit of yellow on the breast, and then white belly, with strong white bars on grey wings. My western book doesn't show the bit of yellow on the breast.

But, my western book shows a Male Townshend's Warbler with a black lower neck, yellow on the breast, and then a white belly, with strong white bars on grey wings. I'm guessing the Townshend's.

The beak looks reasonably warblery to me.

(Now, watch, someone is going to come along and explain how it has to be the Yellow Breasted Gull or something. I'm eager to learn what this is!)

Wow, this is an interesting angle.

Gotta agree on Warbler with that beak. But which warbler is hard to say. There don't seem to be many with both a dark chin/neck area and yellow underneath before fading to white.

Bardiac, I'm going to disagree on the Townsend's Warbler. Looking it up, it appears to display black streaking under the wings all along their sides. This bird doesn't show that.

While the dark chin makes me nervous, I'm going to go on a hunch with this one and say Northern Parula. It has a yellow breast and sides, white belly, white wing bars, and that little dark patch on its side by the curve of the wing.

I have to admit that one of the most frustrating things about these Mystery Birds is that the majority seem to be from west of the Mississippi. I'm on the East Coast, and so far only have eastern field guides, which makes guessing birds to the west a bit tricky sometimes. I'd love to see different locations than Texas, Arizona, and South Dakota more often!

I'm going with adult male northern parula, too, based on the yellow throat, dark breastband, yellow strip below that, and white belly. I also note the "white belly sometimes shows rufous along flanks" and "broad white wing-bars" (Sibley).

This bird seems kind of skinny for a parula, which Sibley also describes as "small, dumpy, and short-necked, with... fairly short tail." But I'm thinking maybe this is just an uncharacteristic silhouette that this photo captures, as the bird stretches along the twig and twists its head to one side.

Hmmm...

I think this is a male warbler, and suggests to me a hybrid of a Bay-breasted and some other species(possibly, a Blackburnian warbler). The darkish head and throat and white belly suggest Bay-breasted, while the yellow/orange on the breast suggests the possibility of a hybrid, as do the somewhat enlarged white wing-bars and the fact that the brown color doesn't continue down the flanks.

Hey, it's been known to happen.

Adult Male Northern Parula. Yellow on upper breast with an orange wash, also can see some blue on the back

By Adam Sabatine (not verified) on 27 Apr 2009 #permalink