ID thoughts on this strange passerine at Akaroa?

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
andrewcrossland
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Re: ID thoughts on this strange passerine at Akaroa?

Postby andrewcrossland » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:43 pm

Yeah i'd considered lemon-bellied flycatcher and also the Cyornis jungle-flycatchers but the head isn't proportioned right , the eye isn't prominent and it doesn't have that white supercilium.
The location is about 3 km away from where c.90 cruise ships per year anchor while visiting Akaroa, so it wouldn't be totally impossible for a stray land bird to fly ashore (albeit most cruise ships have visited other nz ports before reaching Akaroa ).
More than happy for someone to post a pic of a Dunnock that shares all the features of this bird. Until then - in the absence of other ID mysterious to muse over, I'm gonna keep chewing over this one.....
There's been 477 views if this post now but only 2 people brave enough to offer suggestions! I'm hoping for more opinions posted it?!!
Paul Scofield
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Re: ID thoughts on this strange passerine at Akaroa?

Postby Paul Scofield » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:24 pm

Well perhaps AC its up to you to first explain why you definately think it isnt something common. :) It clearly has a black mask and I can see no reason to think it isn't a rather washed out brown creeper.
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Oscar Thomas
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Re: ID thoughts on this strange passerine at Akaroa?

Postby Oscar Thomas » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:40 pm

Brown creepers do not have a 'series of unusual loud single note calls that sounded similar to a Greenfinch's' as Andrew described, nor do they sit still long enough in low vegetation for photos like that. I don't see how this can be anything but a Dunnock. If you saw my comparison pic you can see it is near identical, especially the facial markings. Could be less stocky because of age/sex/time of year. This lighting is abysmal which makes it appear less striated and it could also be a reflection of the light causing the yellowish belly.
Can someone back me up on it being a Dunnock, please!
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Davidthomas
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Re: ID thoughts on this strange passerine at Akaroa?

Postby Davidthomas » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:58 pm

I’m with Oscar on this, i think it’s just a slightly weird plumaged Dunnock. I wish I had time to go check it out myself but works an ass.

Would be happy to be proven wrong however.
Colin Miskelly
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Re: ID thoughts on this strange passerine at Akaroa?

Postby Colin Miskelly » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:01 pm

Looks pretty dunnocky to me Oscar :)
andrewcrossland
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Re: ID thoughts on this strange passerine at Akaroa?

Postby andrewcrossland » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:17 pm

Yep, it certainly wasn't a Brown Creeper.

I had just finished a slow-walk bush bird transect when I came across the bird, so I was in the right "head space" for hearing and recognizing bird calls and for seeing and recognizing birds flying about or sitting in trees. This bird sat on a branch and called for a good 5 minutes while I watched it and tried to get photos. Not a single note of a Brown Creeper's contact calls or song in that entire time. As I said, there was a group of noisy Brown Creepers only a short distance back up the track. The stillness of this bird, its jizz, its lack of brown-creeper-esque facial markings, its finer bill, its tidier tail, etc, all indicated it wasn't a Brown Creeper.

The only NZ bird it was close to was a Dunnock, but I'm open to alternative suggestions........Does anything in the Pacific Islands look like this? Anything from the islands where the cruise ships sail from??

I know the pics are really crappy! but despite this they all show that dark cap and lores, that pale throat, that lemon-yellow belly, that lack of dark striations...... What age/plumaged Dunnock is that? Keep the ideas coming in folks!
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RussCannings
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Re: ID thoughts on this strange passerine at Akaroa?

Postby RussCannings » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:42 am

Always appreciate a rare ID discussion in NZ--cheers AC.

To me all signs point to dunnock (happens to be one if the dullest accentors on offer). I can't think of a single West Polynesian passerine that has a notched tail and accentor-like bill. Given that it was singing, this rules out any obscure female Asian flycatcher (and the type of song rules out virtually all make flycatchers/monarchs). I also agree that the bill/head shape and facial expression is wrong for a flycatcher.

So if it's shaped like a dunnock, calls like a dunnock, sings like a dunnock, and is in a place where dunnock is the most likely candidate, I'd go with dunnock.

The slightly off plumage could be due to wear, moult, bad-feather day, recent dust/water bath, poor lighting?

Still, the variety of responses on here shows how tricky photo ID is! These are my thoughts anyway :)

Russ
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George Hobson
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Re: ID thoughts on this strange passerine at Akaroa?

Postby George Hobson » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:43 pm

I'd agree with everyone saying Dunnock - definitely looks like one.
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TheBirderman
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Re: ID thoughts on this strange passerine at Akaroa?

Postby TheBirderman » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:31 pm

I agree with Dunnock.
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AlanShaw
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Re: ID thoughts on this strange passerine at Akaroa?

Postby AlanShaw » Sun Oct 14, 2018 6:41 am

Andrew, did you notice the bird regularly flicking its wings, as this is a constant habit of the Dunnock ---------hence an old English name of Shufflewing. The silhouette certainly fits Dunnock.

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