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      Whatbird Forums Rules   01/08/17

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    • Aveschapines

      Found a baby bird or a sick or injured bird?   07/11/17

      Here is a short article with advice for what to do if you find a baby bird or one that appears to be sick or injured. Bird rescue article Please feel free to post here if you have questions or need more help.

please help re: gray bird near pond, marsh

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Ok ... hmm, I've lightened the photo so we can see it better, and narrowed down the options a bit.

  • Ruby Crowned Kinglet (in the same area; saw one this week) - this bird is grey not green though.
  • Plumbeous Vireo (in the same area now; saw one yesterday) - possible
  • Gray Flycatcher  (looks a bit like this; rare here however) - possible, but this bird has grey wash on it's breast
  • Eastern Phoebe (looks most like this, very rare here) - not very likely, scratch this

  • Willow or Dusky Flycatcher (very very rare here) - not very likely, scratch this


Occam's razor: It's a plumbeous? what do you think?





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So, have gone thru the blues ... as you suggest. Tx! 

Sure enough there is the blue flycatcher to consider, and it is a lot more common in the area right now(though I have never seen one before in my life).

In comparing it to the the plumbeous, I am coming the following conclusion.

- this bird is Not likely a Plumbeous:

  1. the white wingbars are absent (although there are hints),
  2. the undertail not black/brown

- this bird is More likely a Blue Gray Gnatcher:

  1. the eye-ring is clear(see below lightened photo), but not boldly "spectacled" like Plumbeous
  2. the tail is black upper, gray/white under (but not white edged)

Your thoughts?




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The structure and posture still look like a flycatcher. There are several options other than Gray Flycatcher possible down there right now.

  • Thanks 1

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I agree that it looks like a flycatcher. Some kind of empid (Gray or something else).

  • Thanks 1

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Have given this some thought, and gone thru all the flycatchers that are reasonably known in the AZ.

Then assessed them all in order of likelihood in AZ, and immediate area in Phoenix.

Appreciate your thoughts??



Gray Flycatcher: the observed bird has all of these traits

  • longer primaries than secondaries

  • thin eye-ring,

  • pale mark in front of eye.

  • back gray, belly white

  • 2% likelihood in AZ in Feb-Mar

  • last seen in this location: 30 Apr 2016

  • habitat: forages for insects in shrubs/low tree branches. N normal habitat =sagebrush areas, pinyon pine and juniper woods, and ponderosa pine forests.


Note: the observed bird was foraging in a shrubby, very dry brush area, within an overall golf community that is artificially populated with a large volume of ponderosa pines.


OTHER FLYCATCHERS CONSIDERED (N= eliminated; Y=Possibility)



  • N   Says Phoebe: no rufous breast

  • N   Black Phoebe: no black jacket

  • N   Female Vermilion Flycatcher: no orange breast, no streaks on breast

  • Y  Gray Flycatcher: longer primaries than secondaries, right color, shape

  • N   Western Kingbird: no lemon colored belly.

  • N   Ash-throated Flycatcher: not brown, and observed bird has eye-ring


  • N/Y   Hammond's Flycatcher: longer primaries than secondaries, except Hammonds has gray breast, observed bird has white breast. Hammonds prefers “high altitude”, whereas the observed bird was seen at approx 1300ft at desert floor. Therefore Hammond’s has been eliminated.

  • N   Dusky Flycatcher: no yellow belly; observed bird has white breast/belly

  • N   Eastern Phoebe: observed bird has an eye-ring

  • N   Pacific-slope Flycatcher: this bird has white breast



  • N   Plumbeous Vireo: no bold eyeglasses look.

  • N   Bell’s Vireo(Arizonan): possible, except not olive gray, no buff flanks

  • N   Cassin's Vireo: no bold eye-ring, no olive flanks

  • N   Hutton's Vireo: no olive upper

  • N/Y   Gray Vireo: similar, but observed bird has long primaries vs secondaries.

  • N   Warbling Vireo: no white eyebrow



  • Olive-sided Flycatcher

  • Cassin's Kingbird

  • Western Wood-Pewee

  • Willow Flycatcher

  • Olive-sided Flycatcher

  • Gray/Dusky Flycatcher

  • Dusky-capped Flycatcher

  • Brown-crested Flycatcher

  • Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet


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... appreciate any further observations, input, objections, or affirmations you may have. thanks!

After considerable measuring and comparison of flycatchers, I am coming to the conclusion the Observed Bird is a Hammond's Flycatcher, because

  1. the wing to tail ratio of the observed bird ONLY matches either a Pacific Slope or Hammond Flycatcher (eliminates Gray Flycatcher as a possibility).
  2. the short pointy bill length of the observed bird ONLY matches a Hammond's Flycatcher (eliminates Gray & Pacific Slope Flycatcher).
  3. the round head (no sloped peak) matches a Hammond's Flycatcher (eliminates Pacific Slope)
  4. the structure, color (gray upper/pale gray lower color) & features (eyering, 2 faint wingbars on dark wing) match a Hammond's Flycatcher

SEE BELOW ANALYSIS: based on measurements of verified photo's of each species.


Flycatcher Analysis and Conclusions


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