Ficedula albicollis/hypoleuca - ID

Collared Flycatcher & Pied Flycatcher / Halsbandsflusnappare & svartvit flugsnappare

ID - BEST CRITERIA:

The identification of the two black-and-white flycatchers have been rather well covered in the litterature, e.g. Svensson (1992) and Mild (1994). Still, difficult individuals are regularly encountered, especially in 1cy birds. Further, in the Baltic area (Öland and Gotland) the two species show a rather high incidence of hybridization, resulting in a portion of more or less intermediate birds. Ottenby is therefore a badly choosen site to explore the limits of the variations in pure bred birds, since we do not know the genetical history of the birds that we handle.
F. albicollis / Collared flycatcher

Plumage autumn:
  • General colour above: In 1cy and females, similar to hypoleuca or very slightly greyer. In 2cy+ male slightly greyer.
  • White bases to PP more extensive than in hypoleuca. White reaches out to P4 in most birds (sometimes even P3) but may stop at P5 in some 1cy females.
  • Feathers in neck with some concealed white in feather centra in all plumages.
  • Outer pairs of RR (both in 1cy and 2cy+) with averagely more white than hypoleuca: on R5-6 (both outer and inner vane) and on outer vane of R4.
Plumage spring:
  • Males are unmistakable.
  • General colour above in females is colder and paler grey than in hypoleuca.
  • White bases of PP as in autumn.
  • Feathers in neck of females as in autumn.
  • Diffuse pale grey to white area in rump in females.
  • White on RR of females as in autumn. In males black, or with white outer vane on R6 (and sometimes on R5, but much restricted)
Wing-formula:
  • P2>P5 in most birds (=P5 in some, <P5 in very few).
F. hypoleuca / Pied Flycatcher

Plumage autumn:
  • General colour above: In 1cy and females, similar to albicollis or very slightly browner. In 2cy+ male slightly browner.
  • White bases to PP more restricted than in albicollis. White usually reaches out to P7 or P6 in most birds (but may sometimes reach P5).
  • Feathers in neck with no concealed white in feather centra in any plumages.
  • Outer pairs of RR (both in 1cy and 2cy+) with averagly less white than hypoleuca: on R5-6 (both outer and inner vane) and on outer vane of R4.
Plumage spring:
  • Males are unmistakable.
  • General colour above in females is warmer and darker brown than in albicollis.
  • White bases of PP as in autumn.
  • Feathers in neck of females as in autumn.
  • No or very slight diffuse pale grey area (with no white present) in rump in females.
  • White on RR as in autumn.


Wing-formula:
  • P2<P5 in most birds (=P5 in some, >P5 in very few).
F. albicollis, 1cy (prob. male), August. In fresh plumage, 1cy and females are rather brownish, often very similar to hypoleuca. Note extensive white bases to PP. [CP47002]
F. albicollis, 1cy female, August, showing variation. Whitish tips to MC are sometimes seen in fresh plumage in both species, but perhaps more frequently in albicollis. [CS03714]
F. hypoleuca, 1cy August. Compared to the albicollis above, note very similar colour to the upperparts and less extensive white bases to PP. [CP39304]
F. hypoleuca, 1cy August, showing variation. [CS03473]
F. albicollis, 1cy August. White bases to PP are generally more extensive than in hypoleuca and, in this bird, reaches the outer vane of P4 (but may stop at P5 in some). [CP46962]
F. albicollis, 1cy August, showing variation. In this individual a tiny white spot on the outer vane is seen even in P3. [CS03599]
F. hypoleuca, 1cy male, August. In most hypoleuca white bases to the outer vane of the PP does not reach further out than P6, but this bird shows a good white spot also on P5. Exceptionally, a very limited white spot may be found on P4, but then hidden under the PC. [CV05061]
F. hypoleuca, 1cy female, August. Another one showing quite extensive white, reaching P5. [CV05851]
F. albicollis, 2cy female, May. Spring females are generally colder grey above than hypoleuca and most birds show a pale (grey with some white admixed) rump/lower back. Further, the tertials of albicollis have a tendeny to show narrower white edge in the distal part, but many are ambiguos.  [CS02492]
F. albicollis, female 3cy+, May, showing variation. [CX54630]
F. hypoleuca, 3cy+ female, May. Note the typical brown tinge in the mantle, but also that ths bird shows an unusually pale and cold grey rump (though no white present). [CS02676]
F. hypoleuca, 2cy female, May, showing variation. Note the brown back, lack of pale rump and slightly broader white distal edge to the tertials. [CV03755]
F. albicollis, 3cy+ female, May. Adult PP show, on average, more white at bases than juvenile ones, but the individual variation is pronounced. In both adult females shown here, white reaches to P5 only. Note however that the spots are long and in the inner part of the hand reaches rather far outside the PC. [CP45016]
F. albicollis, 3cy+ female, May, showing variation. [CP45133]
F. hypoleuca, 3cy+ female, May. A few birds, like this one, may show white base even at P5 (exceptionally a small white spot also at P4, but then hidden under the PC). [CN94600]
F. hypoleuca, 3cy+ female, May. A rather common pattern with white bases to PP reaching P7. [CS02745]
F. albicollis, 1cy August. Typical wing formula with P2>P5. A few birds show P2=P5 and (rarely) P2<P5. [CP47044]
F. hypoleuca, 1cy September. Typical wing formula with P2<P5. A few birds show P2=P5 and (rarely) P2>P5. [CP47820]
F. albicollis, 1cy August. All autumn birds and spring females show concealed white feather centra in the neck, though the size of the white centre may vary to some extent. [CX55815]
F. hypoleuca, 2cy+ male, August. No concealed white present in any plumage. [CV06030]
F. albicollis, 1cy August. On average, the tail shows more white than hypoleuca: on R5-6 (both outer and inner vane) and on outer vane of R4. Further, there is a tendency for the white on the outer vanes to reach further out to the tip than in hypoleuca. [CS03599]
F. albicollis, 1cy August. Showing variation. [CS03714]
F. hypoleuca, 1cy male, September. A rather typical tail. [CV06277]
F. hypoleuca, 1cy male, August, showing variation. [CV05061]
F. albicollis, 2cy male, April. Most spring males show a completely black tail (the whole tail is included the pre-breeding moult, unlike most hypoleuca). However, some birds show varying portions of white in the outer vane of R6, and a few may even show limited white in R5. [CV02842]
F. albicollis, 2cy male, May. A (pure looking) albicollis showing all white outer vane of R6 as well as a small white pattern in R5. A few birds may show even (slightly) more white in R5 than this one, but the shape of the white area is often oddly irregular, like here. [CP45116]
F. hypoleuca, 3cy+ male, May. Included here to show some variation in hypoleuca. [CV03217]
F. hypoleuca, 3cy+ male, May. Included here to show some variation in hypoleuca. [CV03757]
F. albicollis, 2cy male, April. A grey 'smudge' is often seen in the white collar of 2cy males (sometimes more extensive than here) and should not be interpreted as a sign of hybrid origin in a bird that otherwise show no anomalies. [CV02842]
F. albicollis, 2cy male, May, showing variation. [CV03703]
More Ficedula albicollis:
Ageing autumn
Sexing autumn

Ageing spring
Sexing spring
Moult

More Ficedula hypoleuca:
Ageing autumn
Sexing autumn

Ageing spring
Sexing spring
Moult
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