Black Redstart plumages

On Saturday Dave and I took lots of photos of the two Black Redstarts which we immediately recognised as an adult male (left) and a female, from their very different plumages.

Back home I began to wonder whether the browner bird showing a pale wing panel could possibly be a young male in first winter plumage rather than a female.

On checking images on the internet I was quickly reminded that young males in first winter plumage are much plainer than the adult as I had suspected (lacking white in the wing and black on the face and throat), but are actually the same shade of smoky grey as our adult male (click red link to see some photos). We can therefore be sure the browner bird on the right is indeed a female, but distinguishing a young female from an adult female in the field is not so easy!


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