23 January : a hybrid Redstart

Hybrid birds are not unknown especially in the large gull world although there have also been cases of smaller gulls, such as Mediterranean and Black-headed hybridising, and Common has also been known to cross breed.This, however, is the first time that I have come across a passerine hybridising. I have mentioned this bird before in recent blogs but now that everything appears to have been sorted and an identification achieved, it seems worthwhile sharing the bird with yourselves, o faithful readers, and comparing it with a bog-standard make Black Redstart I photographed in the garden this week.
Ron Appleby and myself saw this near the board walk at Fuente de Piedra (Málaga) on 13 January 2015 and I photographed it. At first thought was that it was one if the oriental races of Black Redstart  Phoenicurus ochruros, possibly the nominate ochruros, from Turkey. However, as my knowledge of these races is minimal I referred the photos to various ringers, the consensus being that it may well be a hybrid, but Ruicard Gutiérrez investigated thoroughly and came to the conclusion that it was a hybrid after reading a paper by Laurens B Steijn from 2005 at Dutch Birding which is available online (the full issue at issue online reader here), which indicated that it might well be something else.
Bercause of the following details, and despite wing structure not showing in the original photos, showed a white wing panel and a white ventral patch extending upwards to the breast, separating the reddish to flanks. This indicated that it was not an oriental race but pointed towards a hybrid bird. So, herewith comparative photos, the first two are of the hybrid Fuente de Piedra bird, the 3rd and 4th of the male in my garden this week.

The differences of plumage although not totally clear, are reasonably obvious.
I am most grateful to Ricard for his efforts in the identification. 

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