Saturday, February 12


On Thursday I went visiting my girlfriend in Kibutz Ktura, 35 minutes north of Eilat. After I woke upthe next morning (no ringing that Friday so I slept till 8:30am), I took a walk between the Kibutz's houses and lawns. After 50 meters I  heard a distinctive call from a tree just near me. The call was heard once again and then what ever made it went silent. The first thing crossed my mind was "what happened to this white wagtail?"… a few fractions of  a second later I realized It must be a "wing-barred" warbler. I waited for a minute and the bird showed itself between the branches.

As I raced back to the room to grab my camera I was sure it is a Hume's warbler, the same feeling I had till I started examining the photos I took. This felling was based mostly on the call which reminded me some records I have heard, and the rather pale look and whitish brows and wing bars. Unfortunately I had no time to spend with the bird and in total my observation lasted 2-3 minutes in which the bird called only twice.

I phoned Yoav Perlman, and asked him to send an RBA massage.
As I got back home I compared the calls from memory with some calls on the net. My field impression was of a highly disyllabic call, with a very faint rusty ingredient. As I heard the calls of both Hume's and Yellow browed, I'm afraid I cant be sure to which species the calls I heard fit better, with a slight tendency towards Yellow browed. I must admit I have no field experience with Hume's, and limited experience of only 1 (silent individual)Yellow browed in fresh plumage in November a few years ago.

From the photos some features can be seen:
-A rather grayish, green tinged mantle and cap- better for Hume's, although at this time of the year some extensively worn Yellow brows can be similar.
- Extensive pale orange lower mandible, with a dark tip- looks good for YBW.
- Pale looking legs. Again good for YBW.
-no yellow on brows or wing bar- better for hume's but the wearing of the feathers is again a factor that should be considered.

Anyhow, I withdraw my first ID of the bird as a Hume's, and will refer to as a YBW/Hume's until better hearing and watching opportunity is achieved(probably next week).

I would appreciate any comment and ideas about this bird.

Hope to get back there as soon as possible, and you can be sure i will inform you with any news.


  1. Afraid I can't help. I would be very interested in the outcome.

  2. I see no problem with your ID as Hume's - dark legs and bill, good head pattern, and your description of the calls souns perfact. This species is known to overwinter in the Arava occasionally, so this record is not surprising. Good bird!

  3. very good Rea!!


    great bird

  4. Hi Rea,

    Although I don't say it is not Hume's, based on photos and your description I tend more towards Yellow-browed:

    1st - at this time of year Yellow-browed looks extermely worn and Hume's like in appearance.

    2nd: at this time of year i would expect not to notice the 2nd wing bar on Hume's because of extreme worn fether condition.

    3rd: you describe both bill to have yellow base and legst to be mostely yellow. This is far better for YBW than for Hume's.

    4th - description of calls can be very misleading.

    So, I don't say no for Hume's but personally prefer to wait with definite id in this case.


  5. hi Barak,
    Thanks for your comments.

    - I agree about the median covets bar being unusually prominent. A thaught i have about that is that 1st winter birds are supposed to be more worn than the adult birds. pleas take a look at "hadoram's sandgrouses"-page 88, plate 22. an adult Hume's showing a visual "smaller" wing bar in january. the bird from ktura might happen to fall in this presumed category.

    -about legs&bill color- the only info. i have about these was extracted from the photos. in the field i didn't had the time to look carefully...
    anyway, in the last photo on the post the left tarsus seems tranlucent and the fingers pale yellowish. a better sign for YBW but i remind you of the bird that overwinterd in Samar's dates a few years ago and was ringed by Yosef, which showed these features. The yellow basin to the lower mandible falls into Hume's range as far as I know.

    After all these words, the bottom line is Itai's observation from yesterday, described on yesterday's post...

    see you in Eilat

  6. Hi Rea

    May be this bird a Hume's or YBW, if you wanna be a top birder (and it seems you are on your way) never be satisfied with others "bottom lines". Always work your solution for yourself and by yourself!

    The bird is still there, waiting for you,