White-crowned Sparrow ssp. gambelii?

Yesterdays star bird was of course the first White-crowned Sparrow for the Faroes at Viðareiði. Yoav Perlman posted a picture of the bird on Global Rarity Alert on facebook. There the bird caught some American birders attention due to the fact that this bird seems to fit the western taiga subspecies ssp. gambelii rather than the eastern ssp. leucophrys.

The two main features used for subspecies identification are the colour of the bill and lores.

Ssp. gambelii has a yellow-orange bill whereas eastern ssp. leucophrys has a darker pink bill.

Ssp. gambelii has pale grey lores whereas eastern ssp. leucophrys has dark lores.

The bird from Viðareiði shows both pale lores and a yellow-orange bill fitting the subspecies gambelii. But as always caution should be taken especially when thinking of the fact the ssp. gambelii is the subspecies breeding farthest away from the Faroes.

White-crowned Sparrow


White-crowned Sparrow

Other features are also mentioned and a short article about his topic can be read here.

Today Rodmund and I searched for the bird for several hours, but we were not able to relocate it. Interestingly a White-crowned Sparrow turned up on Foula, which could be the Faroese bird as there are less than 400 kilometers from Viðareiði to Foula.

As a minor comfort Rodmund found both a Little Stint at Viðareiði and a Northern Goshawk at Hvalvík – the 3rd for the Faroes if it is not the same bird at in Kunoy last weekend.



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