Monday, February 8, 2016
Elsewhere in this blog I wrote about the “turbulent taxonomic history” that has been a “nightmare” for ornithologists. At one time, five species of junco were recognized. These days, there are only two species with at least 15 races (Nolan et al. 2002).
This junco’s brown back that contrasts with the gray head gave me pause. What is this junco? A western Oregon Dark-eyed Junco? Or an intermediate “cistomontanus,” a race that has been variously assigned to western Oregon and eastern Slate-colored Juncos?
This bird is probably a first-winter Slate-colored Junco. Its flanks are gray. Females can be quite variable, and may sport brownish backs and/or buffy flanks. The authors cited above write, "many records in East probably pertain to brownish variants of J. h. hyemalis (which are also often confused with oreganus group in the East)."
Posted by Dan Tallman at 7:28 AM