Saturday, March 13, 2010

Is This Really a Hybrid?

I've copied a picture taken by Matt Farker of Bloomington, Illinois of a reported hybrid Black-capped Chickadee x Tufted Titmouse. Tom found this bird and has reported it to the Bird ID listserve as a rare hybrid.

To be honest, I'm having trouble seeing the characteristics that convince me of it's status as a hybrid. Admittedly I haven't looked in any references yet but I wouldn't have picked this bird out as unusual. Tufted Titmouse is not found commonly where I live but I do catch them once in a while when I'm in Wisconsin banding birds.

Here is a link to the original photos.

Any thoughts???


Ben Sandstrom said...

It's definitely not a normal Black-capped Chickadee - it has no black throat and its head is far too gray. The 'black' cap on a chickadee would cover the entire eye, and that white/orange gap between the top of the bill and the dark cap is definitely characteristic of a titmouse, though strangely more akin to the Black-crested Titmouse that I see here in Texas with the pale before the black crest, rather than the black before the pale crest on Tufted Titmice. I would easily buy the argument for hybrid on this bird, though genetic testing would be ideal.

Shelly said...

I have tufted titmice and carolina chickadees at my house daily. Many photos of them are listed on my site so I went back through a bunch of both birds. The main things I see about this bird are: 1) the white strike that goes through the eye to the back of the head instead of just masking the eyes. 2) the brown colored plumage at the top of peak, neither carolinas or titmice (young fledglings or old) have this in my area, Ohio. All are very dark/black. Interesting bird, I still can't decide for sure what I think.

Shelly said...

gray jay?

Anonymous said...

I've been an occasional visitor to you site. Really enjoy the springtime radar maps showing the possible flights of birds heading our way.

Like you I am a bander (subpermitee for a looong time). Do all my banding here in central Wisconsin.

My daughter lives in Minneapolis. On some trip out there to visit her, you might find me at one of your programs. We can talk shop. LOL!

As for the hybrid on your home page, I tend to agree with you. There is nothing in that photo to suggest it's partly BCCH.

D Matheson
Central Wisconsin

Matt Fraker said...

For the record, I think Matt Fraker, not Tom Farker, took those photos.

Thanks for the interest.

Matt Fraker