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Need help identifying black bird


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#1 TdeLange

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 03:18 PM

I saw this bird yesterday and looked through a few books unsuccessfully.  I assume this must be a juvenile but i can not find it described anywhere.  Here are some details.

Saw it in Colorado Springs, CO. It was alone and eating around my feeders in the garden.  I saw it eating from the ground and also eating sunflower seeds from my feeder.

It is totally black, has a black eye and black feet.  The tail has white in the middle with black on the sides of the tail. It is about the size of a jay (about 9 or 10 inches).  There are no other markings. 

I managed to take a few photos of it.  I attach one of the better ones for ID purposes.  I have more if needed.

Appreciate the help. 

Attached Files



#2 Ephily

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 03:23 PM

Can you please post the rest of your pictures?

I am not sure what this is, maybe it's an exotic bird or an escapee. Did it drink from the hummingbird feeder? Or is it just perching on it?



#3 TdeLange

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 03:50 PM

Good day.  It did not drink from the hummingbird feeder - I just got a decent shot of it while it perched there for a few seconds.  Here are 5 more photos ijn a zip file.  These are the better ones - I have a few others but they are not good for ID. 

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#4 TdeLange

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 03:51 PM

Another photo - can't seem to add more than one at a time

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#5 TdeLange

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 03:53 PM

1 more - seating seed.  Let me know if more photos required.

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#6 pumakopp

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 07:16 PM

This is a challenge; perhaps a juvenile red-winged blackbird?

#7 TdeLange

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 08:15 PM

The shape almost looks like a red-winged - but a few things makes me think different. 

I looked up a juvenile blackbird - and they are actually not black but pretty much spotted.  I can not find anywhere where they go through a stage where the have the white tailfeathers.  Also, this one seemed to be a little bigger but that is hard to tell.  The bill also looks a little slimmer than a red-wing but that could be if it is juvenile.  Legs also seems to be a little shorter and the body seems to be a little more bulky (that could be due to the amount of seeds they go through  :)  ) In short ......  who knows !!!  Hope someone can positively identify it. 



#8 Ephily

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 08:08 AM

The white on the tail is probably because the bird is a partial albino. I did some research and I found a picture of a Great-tailed Grackle with almost exact patterns of white on the tail.

Now, the bill looks a lot like that of a Red-winged Blackbird but the plumage doesn't fit for any stage of a blackbird's life, not female, male nor juvenile. Plus, the overall shape doesn't exactly fit either.

In short, I have no clue what it is.



#9 pumakopp

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 08:48 AM

I agree that red-winged is probably not the bird; I took a look on-line at the rusty blackbird--bill shape is similar; plumage is less of a match than the female Brewer's blackbird though.

#10 fugazihawk

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 10:11 AM

Are we certain it isn't a species of Cowbird, or is that way off?

#11 Joe Morlan

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 02:39 PM

It's a juvenile Common Grackle.  They have dark eyes and the overall sooty brown color seen here.  On one of the latter photos, a bit of bluish is starting to show on the head.  The tail appears to be keeled which is diagnostic for grackle. 

The white in the tail is partial albinism, sometimes called leucism.  It's a pigment abnormality.



#12 TdeLange

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 02:58 PM

Thanks for all the help folks.  Here is some thoughts about the comments so far :

As for the Cowbird - I can very well see some similarities to the  Bronzed Cowbird - bill seems more like the blackbird though - and the main thing : It is not supposed to be found anywhere near here in Colorado Springs.  Not ruling it out though - has the black eye, similar tail, black feet, similar shape and size.....  

 As for the Pumakopp's comments - I agree with the Rusty Blacbird similarities - and the fact that is is found not too far from here.  Except - the yellow eye !!!  This one had a distinct black eye and the Rusty has a yellow eye.  I can understand the albino comment but I'm not sure if the yellow eye is a definite exclusion.

 
Ephily, again, the eye colour of the great-tailed Grackle .....  As i say, I understand the albine effect....  Agree with what you say about the red-winged as well.  Mostly agree with your comment "I have no clue"  :)

My guess at this stage : A rusty Blackbird that went wrong - eye colour and albino ( I wonder if there may be some cross-breeding). - I read too " Juveniles resemble winter adults but have dark eyes" !!  So , there is a dark eye....

The other maybe - a red-winged with some odd plumage...  They are more common in our area.
 



#13 TdeLange

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 03:57 PM

You know, I think you have it right - a common grackle, juvenile, with a albino problem.  The dark eye through me off but you are right, the juv has dark eye. I seem to remember that it had a little purple-ish shasde on the head but i thought that was the light.  Also, the sooty-brown, I thought this was black but now, looking at it , it could be a very dark brown/black. I do not normally have many Grackles around, and if they do come around, they are in groups.  This one was solo.

 Great job, I think we have an answer.  Thank you very much for that.
 



#14 birdseye

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 09:27 PM

my guess is a female Brewers Blackbird... has a dark eye, and a pointy billl (for sure not a grackle, whose bill is much larger)  and a rounder,more compact body than a grackle...

#15 TdeLange

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 09:01 AM

And I thought we had it ...  :( .   Now, comparing the Brewers and the Grackel side-by-side, I tend to agree, the bill and body does look more like a Brewers's.  And the fact that it was alone...  Brewers looks a little more Brown but it is definitely dark and depends on light, age, and season i guess.

So, we continue....  ???   Really appreciate everyone's input.



#16 Joe Morlan

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Posted 13 September 2007 - 11:18 AM

No, it's not a Brewer's Blackbird which has a much more rounded head, especially on the forehead and a shorter, square tipped tail.  In one photo you can see the graduated tail tip of your bird with the longer central tail-feathers cf. shorter outer tail-feathers.  The tail also appears keeled up on either side like a grackle.  Again that's not right for Brewer's.

The bill is fine for a juvenile Common Grackle as is the sloping forehead which gives your bird a more agressive appearance cf. Brewer's .     



#17 Ephily

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 08:33 PM

I agree with Joe, though the body resembles more the Brewer's Blackbird, the bill doesn't fit, at all. The bill is perfect though for the Common Grackle. Therefore, Juvenile Common Grackle.

#18 TdeLange

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 06:35 AM

Well, seems the experts agree then ?  Thanks everyone.





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