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Colorado Owl

Western/Clark's

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I think - but definitely do not know - that is probably a hybrid. I had the same question about one that looked like this one and that was the conclusion of the people I asked who had seen them often. The one I saw had the same face pattern with a slightly less bright bill.

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I don't see why this isn't a Clark's. Frankly, if hybrids are as common as everyone seems to think, there's no way these should be considered separate species.

FWIW, both species are expected out there, at least on the Front Range.

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I'm in the Clark's camp.

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6 hours ago, psweet said:

Frankly, if hybrids are as common as everyone seems to think, there's no way these should be considered separate species.

Indeed! There are a few supposed 'species' like that.

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In most cases where we know there are extensive hybrid swarms (West Coast gulls, Baltimore/Bullock's Orioles, Spotted/Eastern Towhees, etc.) there's a well-defined hybrid zone where the species meet, and outside that you see little evidence of it. But Western and Clark's Grebes overlap, to some extent, across most of their range. Unless the hybrids are at a serious disadvantage, I don't see any way they could keep separate gene pools, as often as people claim hybrids.

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