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What is this? Saw this off the dirt road from Pinal Mount in AZ headed to Globe,AZ

unknown bird long split tail

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#1 mamabirdof2

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 05:52 AM

I have no idea what this bird is and would love some help! Guess from tail to tip about a robin size. I thought it was a phainopepla until I looked at the photo's and notice the odd white-sh eye ring? Sorry not the best camera, hoping I got enough for an ID. Thanks so much for your help!

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Attached File  unknown bird may 12 2012 001.jpg   124.51KB   160 downloads
Attached File  unknown bird may 12 2012 002.jpg   191.29KB   233 downloads
Attached File  unknown bird may 12 2012 003.jpg   152.43KB   275 downloads
Attached File  unknown bird may 12 2012 004.jpg   94.05KB   215 downloads

#2 ColoTomo

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 06:36 AM

It looks quite a bit like juvenile Scissor-tailed Flycatcher to me. Not sure, the coloring is hard to tell. Did you consider that one ? Wait for others to respond
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#3 creeker

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 08:35 AM

I agree, with that long tail, I think Scissor-tailed Flycatcher is the only choice here.
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#4 BarnSwallow

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 10:03 AM

That's the conclusion I came to, too.

#5 birdbrain22

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 11:46 AM

Agree, with that tail no other options really.

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#6 mamabirdof2

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:27 AM

I hadn't considered the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, I'm new to birding, married a man who has been birding a while and he introduced me to the call of the feather. It's just so dark could it be a high-breed of some sort? If it is a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that would be awesome given our AZ location! Thanks so much for all the help!!

#7 creeker

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 06:22 AM

They are known to wander quite a bit during migration. I saw one here in San Diego County in October of 2010.
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#8 Kryptos18

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 03:26 PM

Why not a female Phainopepla? Their tails can seem pretty strongly forked if they spread them a little.
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#9 spookyjimjams

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 03:32 PM

Why not a female Phainopepla? Their tails can seem pretty strongly forked if they spread them a little.


Yeah, but a Phainopepla's tail is not as long as this one. I think I see what got you thinking this though, the 3rd picture looks like the bird has a tiny crest.

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#10 Liam

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 04:51 PM

Wouldn't a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher have a lighter mantle and head? This looks more like a Phainopepla than a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher to me.

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#11 gbotello

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:17 PM

I would go with Phainopepla, too. The bill looks more like Phainopepla to me, as well.

While there have been a couple of sightings of Scissor-tail Flycatchers in Arizona (there was a famous one for a couple of summers in Campe Verde a few years ago. It may have mated with a Western Flycatcher. I managed to actually see that one).

it would be a very unusal sighting in Arizona.

#12 FarAwayEyes

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 05:38 PM

We have Scissor-tails down here in Texas all over the place and this bird is much darker and the tail is much thicker that the scissor tails here. I agree with Liam the Scissor-tail is much lighter on top and back area.
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#13 psweet

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 06:17 PM

By chance, did you report this to the AZ list-serve as well?

#14 ColoTomo

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 08:02 PM

By chance, did you report this to the AZ list-serve as well?

Interesting post psweet -- does this mean you agree with Scissor-tailed Flycatcher?

The coloring is really the only issue here, which is why I mentioned it in my first post. However, I believe backlighting could account for the mismatch. Female Phainopepla is an interesting choice. I scoured the internet for any female Phainopepla photos, looking for a tail that even remotely mirrored this one, with total tail length and type of fork at the end..... and failed.

As for the range, we get them every once in a while around the middle to northern Colorado. The eBird range map is even more revealing. As Creeker stated, they're known to wander.
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#15 psweet

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 09:46 PM

Actually, I'm not sure about Scissor-tailed -- I'm not really sure what this is, from these photos. I was asking because someone reported a possible Scissor-tailed in that area on the same day, and I was wondering if it was an independent report or the same one.

(I did wonder about the possibility of Gray Silky Flycatcher, based on the bit of a crest and the mention of a white eye-ring, but the photos definitely aren't good enough for that, and I think now that you should be able to see yellow on the belly in the last photo. :) )

#16 Kryptos18

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:21 PM

http://www.flickr.co...dia/5578353690/ Here's a shot that shows that with a little spreading, the tail can look pretty strongly forked.
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#17 bigbadbird

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:26 PM

Yes, we reported this on the listserv. My wife took the picture and I tried to get a look at it visually. We saw a ton of Phainopeplas on the way up and down the mountain and I think it is highly unlikely that this was also one. The head structure didn't seem right, the tail seemed too long, the totality of the body and tail seemed too long, and the coloration seemed off. That being said I have no idea what it is. I have been birding for most of my life and all I know is that at a distance of about 30 yards, it was too hard for me to positively identify by eye sight.

#18 BigOly

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 11:29 PM

To me, the tail looks too long for Phainos. Here's a male and female Phainopepla for comparison.

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#19 BarnSwallow

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 12:27 AM

Not very scientific, but I measured the bird-in-question's tail, and it is quite a bit longer in comparison than BigOly's pic of the female.





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