Monday, November 22, 2010

ID challenge #1

Hi folks! I have decided to spice up this blog with the odd ID challenge, of an international flavour of course. Here is the first ID challenge – you can post your response in comments or send me an email. I will post the answer as a comment in 10 days from the time of posting.

This first one shows a common North American passerine, that many readers will be familiar with, but in an uncommon form that may stump you. Take a look at the two photos below and see how you do... You can click on the photos to view them at a larger size and/or scroll down below the photos for clues if you like…

Who am I?

1. In North American I breed in southern Texas, New Mexico and Arizona (plus a little part of California) but I also occur in the Neotropics

2. I am a highly sexually dimorphic species although either sex may occur in the form shown in these photographs

3. I am about 15cm or 6 inches in length

4. I am very high on the list of “birds to see before you die”

5. Both my scientific genus name and specific name refer to my colour (but not the colour of the form shown here)... in fact I am called the “Ruby Firehead” and I impress everyone I meet!

Who am I?


  1. Well, I never would have identified it by its coloring. I've never seen this color form, nor do I find anything that resembles it in any of the (North America north of Mexico) field guides. However, the clues--range and "Ruby Firehead" nailed it. So, is this just a briefly held juvenile plumage? Or is this color form restricted to Neotropical portions of its range?

  2. Vermilion Flycatcher. Is it a melanistic form?

  3. It has the shape of a Vermilion Flycatcher.


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