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sunshineg8r

help - black bird scarlet chest

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I'm in the central Florida coast area and saw a bird this morning the same size, shape and color of a black bird--except that it had a beautiful scarlet red chest.  No other colors anywhere and only the full chest was deep brilliant red--the rest (including head, beak, etc) was jet black.  Not like the american robins we see here that are brown with orange-red chests--and redder than the cardinals.  Wish I could have snapped a photo... any ideas as to what he could have been?  Thanks for any help to identify him!

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PONYRCR:
Painted Redstart??

You are probably right that this is the closest match to the plumage the OP describes, but it would be a very astonishing bird in Florida, as the typical range is SE Arizona.  Less close matches that are more expected in FL, at least in migration, would be Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Orchard Oriole. 

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Rose-breasted grosbeak is what sprang to mind as soon as I read the thread line.

Scott

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I was also looking at the Rose-Brested Grosebeak and The Orchard Oriole. PONYCR's bird is not even in Eastern Field guides, so I would guess the Oriole because the OP described it like a blackbird.

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Yeah, the fact that Florida is way out of range came to mind.

I know the Painted Redstart shouldn't be in Florida.  But, the one in my picture was taken in Southern California another place they shouldn't be.  I guess Florida is a bigger stretch then So Cal.

Never thought of a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  That does make more sense.

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Wow--thanks for your wonderful and quick responses!  A redstart was the closest thing I could find in the field guide--however, the painted has white on it's wings in the picture in my book (his was black) and the slate-throated was more like his coloring.  However, the guide states the redstart's length is only 5 1/4"... is that correct?  If so, the bird I saw was bigger (much like a black bird's size).  The orchard oriole's chest is too orange, tanager's head is red, and the grosbeak has white spots on the wings and body (he was solid black there).  I did look up at him from below but he also turned to his side so that I could see his wings, body and tail.  I'm stumped.... could it be an "escaped" bird from outside the U.S. (thus not in my book)?

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sunshineg8r:
I'm stumped.... could it be an "escaped" bird from outside the U.S. (thus not in my book)?

Especially in Florida (and CA), escaped exotics are always a possibility.

EDIT: Which brings to mind - last week even up here at the southern shore of Lake Michigan, a good friend of mine had such a bird show up at his feeder - a male European Goldfinch.  Escapes happen!

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I expected to see a picture of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak also basedup the description.  But the beak does not look correct for one thing,it looks more Blackbird or Redstart.

Both the Gosbeak and the Painted Redstart show white on theunderside of the tail.  However, from your picture you can see theblack speckles that the Redstart has on the undertail coverts.  So,based upon that and the shape of the bill, I vote say that it is aPainted Redstart.

Note:  The Cornell Site shows that the bird does occur in Florida.

 

p.s.  Pony, 

Though it shows to not be in CA, it is just East of your border.  It is entirely possible that it could be pushed into your State.  You might wanted to check some local Sites and maybe even the Christmas Bird Count records to see if the bird is expanding to the West.

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Jim, I think you totally mis-read this thread.  Pony was suggesting that the original poster's bird might be a redstart and offered a photo to demonstrate what it looked like.  I think pony already knows that the photo is indeed of a redstart.

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Yep you are right Obnates.

The discription of the bird put me immeadately in mind of a Painted Redstart.

The bird in my photo is a yearly winter resident at Bonelli Regional Park in Pomona,CA.  The bird has wintered there for at least the last two years that I know of.

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Embarrassed  Well, I did miss it.  Somehow, I thought that the original Poster had provided the picture.  Oh well, the Comments still apply.  Of course, to have any meaning to answering the original request depends upon it being a match for the mystery bird.

p.s.  So, does that mean the Pony has photographic evidence of a Redstart in CA?

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sunshineg8r:
I'm in the central Florida coast area and saw a bird this morning the same size, shape and color of a black bird--except that it had a beautiful scarlet red chest.  No other colors anywhere and only the full chest was deep brilliant red--the rest (including head, beak, etc) was jet black.  Not like the american robins we see here that are brown with orange-red chests--and redder than the cardinals.  Wish I could have snapped a photo... any ideas as to what he could have been?  Thanks for any help to identify him!

Try looking at these http://vireo.acnatsci.org/search.html?Form=Search&SEARCHBY=Common&KEYWORDS=painted+redstart&showwhat=images&AGE=All&SEX=All&ACT=All&Search=Search&VIEW=All&ORIENTATION=All&RESULTS=24

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Thanks to everyone for your responses!  While I still think the redstart is too small and my bird lacked the white on the wings, it's been fun having help trying to figure out what he is.  He certainly was beautiful and I'll keep looking...   :-)

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I FOUND IT!!  It was a RED-BREASTED BLACKBIRD from Costa Rica & South America.  Don't know how to post a picture here, but there was one in wikipedia if you're interested.  I guess he was a bit out of range in my backyard? 

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I momentarily forgot to recognize the possibilities that are available for someone in either Fla.  I could be an escaped bird. 

But can you describe more of the location's habitat in which you saw the bird?  Also, if you have a Guide, many of them have generic drawings highlighting the differences between the birds in key areas.  One such area is the beak or bill.  Describe again the characteristics of your mystery bird.

I just feel that someone should be able to find a bird displaying the colors you describe.

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If you are really certain of this ID, it would be at least as astonishing a sighting as a Painted Redstart would have been. It should be reported and every effort made to obtain a photograph for documentation.. I suppose you can never rule out an escapee, although I am not aware of this particular species being kept as a cage bird.

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Jim Penny:

Embarrassed

  Well, I did miss it.  Somehow, I thought that the original Poster had provided the picture.  Oh well, the Comments still apply.  Of course, to have any meaning to answering the original request depends upon it being a match for the mystery bird.

p.s. 
So, does that mean the Pony has photographic evidence of a Redstart in CA?

 Yes.

This bird is a well known winter resident in Pomona, CA.  It spends the winter at Bonelli Regional Park hanging out near restroom #9.   I've subscribed to the LaCoBirds list serv for the last two years and it's been reported on the list for the last two winters.

I took this picture on December 21, 2008.

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sunshineg8r:

I FOUND IT!!  It was a RED-BREASTED BLACKBIRD from Costa Rica & South America.  Don't know how to post a picture here, but there was one in wikipedia if you're interested.  I guess he was a bit out of range in my backyard? 

 Oh jeez I can believe this bird didn't occur to me. 

I had been planning a trip to Trinidad & Tobago and I was studying the possible birds I might see and the Red-breasted Blackbird was one of them.  Duh.

I guess since my trip has been postponed until next year I've put the Trinidad birds out of my mind for now.

What a cool bird to see in your yard.  It was one of the birds I was hoping to see in Trinidad.

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Thanks, Pony, he did take my breath away when I saw him as his scarlet was so beautiful!  Hope you get to see one someday soon, too!  :-)

Glad you mentioned reporting him, "snowyowl", as that occured to me last night -- but who would it be reported to??  Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get a picture of him for proof.  He flew off the telephone wire just as I moved to go in and get my camera (after stopping in shock to study him for 20-30 seconds).

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If you are in Florida, it's easy.  Post it to the Tropical Audubon Society board      http://www.tropicalaudubon.org/tasboard/index.html     Phrase it as a "suspected" sighting.  All the south Florida birders check this list daily and if anyone knows about the bird you will get a prompt response. I would guess it's an escapee rather than a true vagrant, but you never know.

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