Identification of a bird’s species

female Blue-and-white Flycatcher
This photo has been saved in the folder named as “Unidentified” till today.
Now it is moved to Blue-and-white Flycatcher folder.

For non-birders, birds are roughly classified into several groups such as pigeons, seagulls, little forest birds, penguins, small-flightless birds, big-flightless birds, and birds of prey.

Whereas a person who regards himself a birder generally tries to identify at least the common name of the species that he observed or photographed. A more determined birder like me always wants to identify the common name of the species, scientific name, and related taxa, let alone the basic biological facts of the species.

Knowing the name of a subject of interest is important to collect more of its information. As human’s intellectuality is based on the language in use, names or definitions are the building blocks of constructed thinking. In that regard, finding out the bird’s name is a prerequisite for further research. And pinpointing a specific name of a bird sometimes becomes challenging like this one. All anatomical parts should be checked to differentiate one species from another. Songs and calls, the place the bird was spotted, the geographical information, the season, and the behavior are all useful information telling what the bird was.

But for this little brown bird, I managed to take only a few front shots. The bird was quietly sitting on a branch and flew away 30 seconds later since I realized her presence. Initially I thought it could be an Asian Brown Flycatcher; however, a white wing bar, one of the identification points, was not visible at all. Adding more difficulty to the identification, females of several other species have the similar phenotype. I made a list for the differential diagnosis. And then I used a mind map chart to strike out one by one (see below image).

  1. Siberian Blue Robin [Larvivora cyane]
  2. Rufous-tailed Robin [Larvivora sibilans]
  3. Dark-sided Flycatcher [Muscicapa sibirica]
  4. Asian Brown Flycatcher [Muscicapa dauurica]
  5. Blue-and-white Flycatcher [Cyanoptila cyanomelana]

My diagnosis of this brown bird was a female Blue-and-white Flycatcher! All the phenotypical description matched with the bird in my photo. Moreover the fact that I photographed the male of this species in the same place also supported my diagnosis.

male Blue-and-white Flycatcher [Cyanoptila cyanomelana]
A male Blue-and-white Flycatcher [Cyanoptila cyanomelana]
male Blue-and-white Flycatcher [Cyanoptila cyanomelana]
A male Blue-and-white Flycatcher [Cyanoptila cyanomelana]
male Blue-and-white Flycatcher [Cyanoptila cyanomelana]
A male Blue-and-white Flycatcher [Cyanoptila cyanomelana]

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