Journal archives for January 2023

January 01, 2023

Genus Sayornis (Phoebes) Identification Guide

The Genus Sayornis contains three species: the Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans), Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), and Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya). This guide will go over the identification, habitat, vocalizations, and range of each species.

The Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans) is 6-7 inches (about 15-18 centimeters) long. This species has a mostly black body, with a white belly and white undertail coverts (the part of the underparts just before the tail). Juveniles are similar to adults, but have two cinnamon wing bars. Adults from Eastern Panama and South America are almost entirely dark, with white edges to the wing feathers. Like other phoebes, this species frequently pumps its tail up and down when perched. Often found near water, look for this species near lakes, rivers, ponds, etc. Can be found in urban areas, especially if water is nearby. Vocalizations: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black_Phoebe/sounds. Range map: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black_Phoebe/maps-range. Sightings: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&quality_grade=research&subview=map&taxon_id=17013&verifiable=any, https://ebird.org/map/blkpho.

The Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) is 5-7 inches (about 13-18 centimeters) long, with a wingspan of 10-11 inches (about 25-28 centimeters). This species is brownish-gray above (darkest on the head, wings, and tail) with white underparts. On the breast there is a dusky wash, and freshly molted birds (usually in Fall) have a yellow belly. Similar to some species in the genera Contopus and Empidonax, all-dark bill, lack of wing bars, and lack of an eye ring distinguish this species from other non-phoebe flycatchers. Found in woodlands, farmlands, suburban, and urban areas. Often nests in bridges, houses, and barns. Vocalizations: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Phoebe/sounds. Range map: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Phoebe/maps-range. Sightings: https://www.inaturalist.org/observationsplace_id=any&quality_grade=research&subview=map&taxon_id=17008&verifiable=any, https://ebird.org/map/easpho.

The Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) is 6.7 inches (17 centimeters) long. This species is grayish-brown above, with a lighter gray breast, black tail, peach undertail coverts, and a peach belly. Juveniles are similar to adults, but browner, and occasionally have a buffy wing bar. Similar at first glance to the Eastern Phoebe, but this species' peach belly distinguishes it from Eastern Phoebe. Found in dry, open areas, canyons, and cliffs. Perches on boulders, fences, and bushes. Vocalizations: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Says_Phoebe/sounds. Range map: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Says_Phoebe/maps-range. Sightings: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&quality_grade=research&subview=map&taxon_id=17009&verifiable=any, https://ebird.org/map/saypho.

Posted on January 01, 2023 12:06 AM by salmonadder salmonadder | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Tricky Identifications: White-Tailed Deer vs. Mule Deer

Welcome back to Tricky Identifications, a journal series that highlights a few similar species and the differences between them. Today's entry will go over the differences between the White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and Mule Deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

Both species are distinguished from each other by their ears, tail, and, in males, antlers. In interior North America, Mule Deer typically have a thin, mostly white, black-tipped tail. White-Tailed Deer have thick tails that are dark above and white below, differentiating this species from Mule Deer. However in coastal Mule Deer (which have a similar tail to White-Tailed Deer), or when the tail is not visible, the ears can help determine the species, with Mule Deer having larger ears than White-Tailed Deer. In males, the antlers can also be helpful. Male White-Tailed Deer have antlers that consist of vertical tines (antler branches) branching off of one beam, while Mule Deer have tines that split in two as they grow.

Mule Deer: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/42220-Odocoileus-hemionus/browse_photos?photo_license=any&term_id=17&term_value_id=18

Mule Deer range map: https://muledeer.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Mule-Deer_Ecoregions.jpg

White-Tailed Deer: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/42223-Odocoileus-virginianus/browse_photos?order_by=created_at&photo_license=any&term_id=17&term_value_id=18

White-Tailed Deer range map: https://nhpbs.org/wild/images/whitetaileddeermap.jpg

Posted on January 01, 2023 04:33 AM by salmonadder salmonadder | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 03, 2023

Genus Lacedo (Banded Kingfisher) Identification Guide

The Banded Kingfisher (Lacedo pulchella) is the only member of the genus Lacedo. In this guide, I will go over the identification, habitat, vocalizations, and range of this species.

The Banded Kingfisher (Laced pulchella) is 8 inches (about 20 centimeters) long. This species is sexually dimorphic, with the males being more colorful than the females. The male has a blue cap, and white belly. The male's face, cheeks, forehead, and nape are are chestnut; and the breast, flanks, and undertail coverts are rufous. The male's wings and tail are black-and-blue banded. The female is orange-brown above, with white underparts, white breast, and black barring all over the body. On some females, the orange-brown coloring extends onto the underparts and breast. Both sexes have a large, crimson bill, puffed-up head feathers, and a white throat. Occurs in lowland rainforests at elevations of up to 1,100 meters (about 3,609 feet). In Brunei, this species can be found at elevations of up to 1,700 meters (about 5,577 feet). Unlike other kingfishers, this species does not require a nearby pond or stream. Vocalizations: https://media.ebird.org/catalog?taxonCode=bankin1&sort=rating_rank_desc&mediaType=audio. Range: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22726905/94935347. Sightings: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?place_id=any&quality_grade=research&subview=map&taxon_id=2685&verifiable=any, https://ebird.org/map/bankin1.

Posted on January 03, 2023 05:48 AM by salmonadder salmonadder | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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