Wednesday, 9 January 2013

New species of flycatcher for Thailand?

You may remember from one of my recent Bangkok entries the reference to a species of flycatcher found by my good friend and Bangkok resident, Dave Gandy, in Suan Rot Fai, also known as Wachirabenchathat Park or Railway Park, his local patch in the northwest of the city. 

When Dave took me to see the bird on Boxing Day it had already been in the area (a thicket area of low shrubs) for at least a week. This bird is thought to belong to the 'Cyornis' clan of flycatchers. The distiguishing feature of this largely Asian genus of flycatchers is that the males tend to blue headed with blue wings whilst the females are brown with varying degrees of orange on their throats and chests. The female we saw (depicted) clearly displayed an orange throat and upper chest.

There are several species that are either found in Thailand or have been recorded as vagrants. Last year a rare Chinese Blue Flycatcher wintered in the very same area. It was a male so was a little easier to identify.

Our particular bird was later identified as another Chinese Blue Flycatcher. But when the images were sent to Phil Round, one of Thailand's top birders, he doubted the original prognosis. His thoughts swung towards the possibility of it being a Large Blue Flycatcher - a first for Thailand.

I haven't even heard of that species before so couldn't initially proffer an opinion. But I will do some research. What do you guys think? If you are interested in trying to solve this identification mystery then here are some notes on Cyornis flycatchers

Plus here are some of Dave's pictures and blog on the mystery flycatcher

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