Ficedula hypoleuca - spring

Pied Flycatcher / Svartvit flugsnappare

AGE - BEST CRITERIA:

Individual differences in wear and moult makes ageing problematic at times. Moult contrasts are present in the GC (and often in inner SS) in both age classes, and should be examined carefully together with PC and RR.
 
2cy: 
  • Outermost GC (often the 2-4 outermost) are unmoulted juvenile, being more worn, less dense and paler brown than adult post-breeding ones. The white wedge shaped tips seen in inner juvenile GC are less obvious or even absent on the outer GC, and since the outer ones are the only juvenile GC still left in spring, the character is less straight forward to use by then.
  • Most birds still show uniformly juvenile RR, more worn and on average more narrow and more pointed than adult ones, but differences in shape are not always obvious. Birds (both 2cy and 3cy+) showing single or several (sometimes even all) pre-breeding moulted RR are not uncommon at Ottenby, contrary to most publications. Note that difference in colour of the RR is partly explained by sex.
  • The juvenile PC are usually less dense and more worn than in adult, but differences are not always obvious.
  • PP and SS still juvenile (though one or more inner SS are often moulted pre-breeding), showing more wear and bleach in the tips than adult ones.
3cy+:
  • Outermost GC (often the 2-4 outermost) are unmoulted post-breeding, being less worn, more dense and darker brown (esp. in males) than juvenile ones.
  • Most birds show uniformly post-breeding RR, less worn and on average broader and more bluntly tipped than juvenile ones, but differences in shape are not always obvious. Birds (both 2cy and 3cy+) showing single or several (sometimes even all) pre-breeding moulted RR are not uncommon at Ottenby, contrary to most publications. Note that difference in colour of the RR is partly explained by sex.
  • The post-juvenile PC are usually more dense and less worn than in 2cy, but differences are not always obvious.
  • PP and SS still post-breeding (though one or more inner SS are often moulted pre-breeding) and are generally in better condition than juvenile ones.
2cy April (male). Like in all birds (regarless of age) inner GC are fresh pre-breeding, dense and show typical black-and-white pattern. Relevant for ageing, outer GC1-4 are still juvenile, reckognized by being worn and pale brownish. Note that the white wedge shaped tips seen in juvenile GC during the autumn are less obvious on the outer GC, and since these are the only juvenile GC still left in spring, the character is less straight forward to use by then. [CP44949]
2cy May (male), showing variation with moulted pre-breeding GC4-10 contrasting to juvenile remaining GC1-3. It should be born in mind that some individuals (not shown here) may show a sudden change in colour of the GC, although the feathers are still of the same generation. Such pattern may easily be misread as a moult contrast. [CV03117]
2cy May (female). Females are generally harder to age since it's more difficult to judge wether the outer unmoulded GC are juvenile or post-breeding than in males. Here, outer GC1-4 are juvenile, more worn, less dense and often slightly narrower compared to the post-breeding versions that an 3cy+ would have shown (see below). [CV03755]
2cy June (female), showing variation with GC1-3 still juvenile. Some individuals are difficult indeed and it is important to check all relevant characters (still, a few are best left without age). [CV04708]
3cy+ May (male). Unmoulted outer GC1-4 are post-breeding and, compared to juvenile feathers, are less worn, denser, variably blackish-brown and slightly broader. [CV03757]
3cy+ May (male). Another adult male showing post-breeding outer GC1-4. [CV03217]
3cy+ May (female). In adult females the moult contrast may sometimes be less easy to find, but here outer GC1-2 are post-breeding, less worn, denser and slightly broader than the still juvenile GC seen in 2cy bird. [CS02745]
3cy+ May (female), showing variation with post-breeding GC1-5. [CS02676]
2cy May (male). Most birds, like this one, shows a unifomly juvenile tail during the spring. RR are on average more worn, slightly narrower and shows slightly more pointed tips, but the shape of the RR is variable and sometimes rather similar to adult. [CV03124]
2cy May (male), showing signs of moult in tail. Left R1-2 are still juvenile, much worn, brownish and rather pointed. Remaining RR are pre-breeding (in better condition, and more blunt tipped) but some slight differences in colour and condition may imply that the feathers were grown during different periods of the winter(?). [CN94992]
 
2cy May (female). A uniformly juvenile tail showing RR that are worn, narrow and with pointed tips. [CV03608]
2cy May (female), showing contrast with juvenile RR1-2 on both sides while the rest of the tail is pre-breding. [CV03745]
 
3cy+ May (male). Uniformly post-breeding RR. [CV03217]
3cy+ May (female). A uniform tail that at a first glance may appear fresh enough to suggest pre-breeding RR. However, the feathers (including the shafts) are quite bleached and rather supports this being a well kept post-breeding tail. [CS02676]
 
2cy May (male). Juvenile PC are usually less dense, faded pale brown and clearly worn, but more well kept birds are not always easy to separate from adult. [CV03124]
2cy May (female), showing variation. [CV03608]
3cy+ May (male). Adult post-breeding PC are generally slightly more dense, darker and in better condition than juvenile, but differences are not always obvious.[CV03217]
3cy+ May (female), showing variation. [CS02676]
2cy May (male). More or less all individuals (regardless of age) include all three tertials in the pre-breeding moult, which makes them less useful for ageing. Many birds also include one (or sometimes more) SS. [CP45294]
2cy May (female), showing variation, including unmoulted juvenile S6. [CV03755]
3cy+ May (male), showing pre-breeding tertials and post-breeding SS. [CV03217]
3cy+ May (female), showing variation. [CS02676]
More Ficedula hypoleuca:
Sexing spring
Ageing autumn
Sexing autumn
Moult

Identification
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