March 2003 Mystery Bird
This was a difficult and somewhat misleading image. I suspect the bird may have been bathing which resulted in
the effect of dark streaks on the sides and flanks. However, there is no vireo found in California, that has streaking
on the underparts. The bill shape which is thicker at the base certainly suggests a small vireo. A Ruby-crowned
Kinglet would have a bill which is more needle-like, hardly thicker at the base than at the tip. Also bill and
foot color can be helpful in separating Hutton's Vireo from Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The kinglet has a black bill
and pinkish toes, while the vireo has a grayish bill and bluish toes.
Among the similar vireos, I noticed that eyering shape seemed to be an excellent way of separating Hutton's
from Gray and Bell's vireos. Hutton's is broken above and may be broken slightly below (like Ruby-crowned Kinglet).
Bell's is complete above, but broken in front and in back and very narrow or absent below the eye. Gray has a
more complete, but usually narrower eyering than either. Vireos of the "Solitary" complex (Blue-headed,
Plumbeous, Cassin's) have more clearly defined spectacles, with a break in front of the eye and a strong supraloral
stripe connecting to the unbroken eyering above, and wrapping around below until it stops at the lores.
This month's mystery bird was photographed 17 April 1988 in California. To view public comments or join the
fray by adding your opinion, click here. Have fun!
||Photo © 1988 Peter LaTourrette. All rights reserved.
Color perception has been a chronic problem in assessing photographic images on the web. This problem
is compounded by the wide variety of hardware and software used to view these images. Please adjust your video
to the highest possible number of colors. My logs show that over 25% of visitors view these pages with only 256
colors (8 bit). Sixteen bit (high color) is minimum and 24 bit (true color) desirable. Also you may wish to calibrate
your monitor against a color
standard and ensure that brightness and contrast are set correctly.
[Home] [California Birding]
[More Mystery Birds]