I’m always excited when I see the notice in my inbox of a new newsletter from Handbook of the Birds of the World. Here’s the first thing that caught my eye in this one:
Okay. First, I am going to need to see a “Western Quail-thrush” before I shuffle off life’s mortal coil. It looks beautiful, and I always get a kick out of compound bird names suggesting that the bird can’t decide what it is. Is it a quail? Is it a thrush? Stop – you’re both right!
On that same theme, shrike-tit?! Wait, this is a tit that behaviorally converges on shrikes?! That is immensely cool and I can’t wait to go look it up!
Finally, the bottom two whistlers have names that are quintessentially maddening to beginning birders. Rusty-breasted? Really? That faintly darker yellow-almost orange area is “rusty”, and that’s the most conspicuous part of that bird? How about its Black-chinned buddy? Oh I suppose that in the hand one could see some black feathering at the base of the lower mandible, but its white throat seems a bit more obvious. Maybe it’s just me . . . Regardless of their names though, you owe it to yourself to listen to this recording of Black-chinned Whistler song.
Of course, there is plenty to learn from every HBW Alive newsletter, so here’s one more teaser to get you to subscribe.