hybrid Flame-colored X Western Tanager (Piranga bidentata X P. ludoviciana), Upper Miller Canyon, Cochise County
This hybrid Flame-colored x Western Tanager was first found this
spring by Ron Beck on 16 April 2014 and photographed by Laurens Halsey on 05 May 2014
Hybrid Western x Flame-colored Tangers have been reported from upper Miller Canyon (and elsewhere in the Huachuca Mountains) for several years.
Laurens Halsey writes "In comparison to the pureŁ Flame-colored Tanager that spent eight summers in Madera Canyon [from memory & comparing photographs]:
1. The overall appearance of this bird was not as intense orange, fading to an orangish-yellow on the belly, vent & under tail coverts
2. The auricular patch appears to be less defined
3. The upper wing bar was yellow compared to white lower wing bar
4. Back appeared dark (blackish) with indistinct streaking (olive?)
5. White spots at tips of tertials appeared smaller
6. Bill appeared all dark & intermediate in size
7. Upper tail coverts / rump were bright yellow & without streaking (not visible in photographs)
8. Pale tail spots on outer retrices not as extensive & not as distinct
Items 1, 2, 5, 8 are subjective (personal opinion, lighting & photographic affects, individual variations and/or plumage conditions) however each indicate hybrid. Items 3, 4, & 7 are the definitive characteristic used for making the determination of a Western X Flame-colored Tanager hybrid versus a pureŁ Flame-colored Tanager.
The combination of all four photographs shows all the features described except the bright unstreaked rump, that feature was observed only."
02 May 2014, photo by Laurens HalseyAll photos are copyrighted© by photographer
Submitted on 10 June 2014