Date: 10/17/20 10:11 am
From: Harry LeGrand (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: Cassin’s v. Western Kingbird
Thanks, Martina. One thing I learned from reviewing the
identified/photographed Cassin's Kingbird a few months ago at Jordan Lake
Dam -- Cassin's vs. Western -- is that on Cassin's, there is no darker
face-mask appearance *behind the eye*. That is, the slate gray of the
crown, nape, *and cheek* etc., is *concolored* on most or all Cassin's On
most Westerns, there is a clear blackish face mask that extends onto the
cheeks, a bit behind the eye. Thus, on a Western, the crown and nape are a
tad softer or paler gray -- to medium-gray, but typically lighter than the
cheek area.

The white on the malar area -- side of the throat -- can be difficult to
use. Westerns can show this. And, normally, you cannot see the white
outer tail feathers on a perched Western Kingbird. Cassin's can have a
pale gray tip to the tail, but this can also be hard to see.

My thought on this bird -- and I saved the first and last ones to my
computer so I could blow them up -- is that I see a blackish cheek area --
like a mask, that seems to extend beyond the eye -- a bit shrike-like.
That -- and the not sharply-defined white throat when seen from the front
(4th photo when blown up) -- leads me to believe this is, indeed, a Western
Kingbird. Some of us have been fooled by a few previous iffy
yellow-bellied kingbirds photographed by others and posted on eBird lists
that we were hoping could be, or might be, Cassin's; the majority in such
cases strongly supported Westerns. I should note here that the Jordan Dam
bird on the photographs show a concolor head area -- crown, cheek, and
nape, consistent with a Cassin's.

It would be good to hear from some others, as these are species I've seen
plenty of out West, but very, very few in the past years, especially in
locations where either could occur.

Harry LeGrand

On Sat, Oct 17, 2020 at 12:28 PM Martina Nordstrand <
<martina.nordstrand...> wrote:

> Here's the link-;!!OToaGQ!6azxYMaVk5wzDoReZOe52yIFfDzn6MMYt8Gw8IrppchZj2xla3NwQ_ZG-jdyOtST7gQ$
> I don't have much experience with yellow-bellied kingbirds but it does
> look like a Cassin's to me- nice catch!
> Martina
> On Sat, Oct 17, 2020, 11:57 AM Harry LeGrand <carolinabirds...>
> wrote:
>> Ryan:
>> Can you provide us the eBird URL for this report? I certainly can't
>> find this in 10 minutes of looking. Date? How long ago?
>> Harry LeGrand
>> On Sat, Oct 17, 2020 at 12:07 AM Rbakelaar <carolinabirds...>
>> wrote:
>>> All,
>>> I was taking a look at ebird as to all the cool birds people are seeing
>>> that I am not and I took a look at photos from an anonymous ebirder of a
>>> yellow-bellied kingbird from Alligator River NWR. While it was reported as
>>> a western, I was wondering if it may have some characteristics of
>>> Cassins??? The images are distant and when I blow them up, I can’t
>>> definitively make out white stripes on the outer tail. The malar area in
>>> some seems to contrast quite a bit with the surrounding area as well.
>>> Thoughts???
>>> Ryan Bakelaar
>>> Durham, NC
>>> Sent from my iPhone

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