[Tweeters] Unusual Flicker

Joshua Glant josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Thu Jun 11 20:55:43 PDT 2015


Well, a hybrid is a cross the two different species (for example, the male Rufous x Anna's Hummingbird currently showing off at my feeder), whereas an intergrade is a cross between two subspecies in the same species. Another example besides an intergrade Northern Flicker would be a cross between an "Audubon's" and "Myrtle" Yellow-rumped Warbler. (Although, caution is warranted with this example: there is an ongoing debate as to whether these two "subspecies" are conspecific [the same species].)

Good birding, Joshua Glant

Mercer Island, WA

Josh.n.glant at gmail.com

PS I learned in my chemistry textbook today that flickers have basic (pH > 7) saliva in order to counteract the formic acid in one of their favorite foods, ants! How cool is that!?




> On Jun 11, 2015, at 2:27 PM, jedunne at u.washington.edu wrote:

>

> I dont' think I've encountered that term, "intergrade", before. I've just referred to them as hybrids. Is there any difference between an "intergrade" and a "hybrid"?

> John, B'ham

>

>> On Thu, 11 Jun 2015, Joshua Glant wrote:

>>

>> Good afternoon,

>>

>> What you saw was an intergrade flicker! In the Rockies and on the western Great Plains (where East meets West), the two subspecies of Northern Flicker sometimes hybridize. Female intergrades are often very difficult to tell from pure birds in the field (and even in hand), but male intergrade flickers are distinctive, with either the plumage of a normal Red-shafted but with a red patch on the neck, or with the plumage of a normal Yellow-shafted but with a red moustache (the latter being rarer, I think, than the former). The wings and tail will often be orange, as opposed to salmon-red or golden-yellow on pure Red-shafted and Yellow-shafted birds, respectively.

>>

>> They're cool birds! I saw one in my yard last winter, and in Wallingford south of Green Lake in downtown Seattle two weeks ago.

>>

>> Good birding, Joshua Glant

>>

>> Mercer Island, WA

>>

>> Josh.n.glant at gmail.com

>>

>>

>>

>> Sent from my iPad

>>

>>> On Jun 11, 2015, at 1:08 PM, jedunne at u.washington.edu wrote:

>>>

>>> Yesterday on my suet feeder in Bellingham, I saw a northern flicker with a prominent red patch on the back of it's neck. Sibley's identifies this as the yellow shafted sub-species from the eastern tiaga. However, when it flew, it clearly was red shafted. I have never seen this on the west side of the mountains. Has anyone else?

>>> John Dunne

>>> Bellingham, WA

>>>

>>>

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