Least Flycatcher "LogMeOut"


Nick Lethaby
 

All,

After Curtis Marantz raised some questions about the Least Flycatcher claimed at LogMeIn yesterday, further analysis of the many photos (thanks to all who submitted these) indicates that the bird is in fact a Pacific-slope Flycatcher. In addition, the bird was later heard to call like a PSFL. Please change the entries in your e-bird lists accordingly.

To provide a bit more context on why Dave and I went off down the wrong path on this one, this bird lacked yellow on the throat/breast and had a pale eyering of rather even width (in some photos a slight teardrop effect is visible but I didn't see this in the field). Once down the wrong path, it's easy to start misjudging features like how long the bill is and how 'blackish' the wings are.

In retrospect, a number of features make this a PSFL (we are ruling out Cordilleran on range - hopefully the  AOU will relump these):

1. Primary tip spacing is uneven, which is typical of Western but not Least
2. While the bird lacks yellow on the throat/breast, the throat would typically be a cleaner white on Least
3.Wings/wingbars are typically more contrasting black-and-white on Least, not 'blackish-and-buff' as on this bird and in general Least is a colder-looking bird than the LogMeIn bird
4.Bill too long. Possibly because the bird was seen below us, the lack of a really obvious lower mandible was another feature that got us off the PSFL track, but a few of the photos suggest the bill was wholly orange below
5. Fall Least Flycatchers I see usually appear dark brown-olive above with a subtle grayish cast to the hindneck. This is only visible in good light at the right angle and I attributed my failure to see to suboptimal light conditions. However, a few photos of the bird show a relatively bright green hindneck that would never be on a Least.
6. Overall the bird lacked the hyperactive wing/tail flicking often shown by Least.

--
Nick Lethaby
Goleta, CA

Mobile: 805 284 6200


--
Nick Lethaby
Goleta, CA

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