Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tasmanian Vs Brown Thornbill

I thought it might be useful to publish together, shots of both the Tasmanian (top), and Brown Thornbills (bottom). Let me say straightaway that in the real World of birding, you seldom, if ever, see them together. Also, the shots were taken in different light conditions, but that's all I've got folks! Local birders seem to mainly rely on the head markings and I think the shots show the difference. Personally, I've often used the undertail coverts, especially useful when the birds are high in the tops of trees. In the 'brown' they are light buff and in the 'Tasmanian', pure white--difficult to see in the image here, but I have found that to be diagnostic, and often on "Tasmanian', these coverts are 'fluffed' out. In the main, Tasmanian Thornbills inhabit wetter, denser habitat, than Browns. If any readers have their own 'pet' way of separating them, I'd be pleased to hear from you. I'm certainly not setting myself up as an expert!

4 comments:

John & Shirley Tongue said...

We tend to rely on the belly and undertail coverts - white and 'fluffy' in the Tasmanian, and cream/beige and smoother in the Brown. Also, the tail seems proportionately longer in the Tasmanian. Calls provide little help, as both are so varied and so similar. Habitat in mainland Tassie provides a bit of a clue, with Tasmanian preferring the wetter, denser forests, though we have recorded Tasmanians at the Royal Hobart Botanic Gardens. Also, on Flinders and Maria Islands, at least, where Tasmanians are the more common, and Browns virtually non-existent, the Tasmanians seem to inhabit a wide variety of habitat types. On the whole, a very confusing pair!

BirdingTas said...
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BirdingTas said...

I'm working on fixing comments.

Murray Lord said...

I often struggled to separate these two - a lot of the time I wasn't confident enough to call possible Tasmanians. But the slightly more orange primary panel in the wing in the Tasmanian is another useful guide.