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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Junkin's Warbler

This is a very cool mystery story brought to you by our friends at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Can you identify the parents of this bird--"Junkin's Warbler"--a hybrid between two warbler species? Learn all about it here.


Bill Pulliam said...

Carbonated Warbler X Small-headed Flycatcher?

Anonymous said...

David is a friend of mine and so glad they had taken the time to do all that DNA work! I remember when this first all happened and threw in my theories also! Will spend more time tomorrow reading all the final details on it!

Bill Pulliam said...

OK now I've peeked at the answer, but I won't give it away here. Quite fascinating! In my pondering I had considered both of the true parents, but never with each other. It's an excellent case study of the problem of trying to infer hybrid parentage just from phenotype. The bird shows some features of both parents, but also some prominent features that are not seen in EITHER parent. In hindsight I can see how they came about from interactions of the parent plumage patterns, but it is not at all obvious or predictable that it would have turned out this precise way. I will keep this bird in mind forever whenever someone is claiming a hybrid of A x B just because a bird shows mixed features of A and B.

Also would help explain why we never have been able to figure out for certain what the "Carbonated Warbler" really was, if it was in fact a hybrid not just some ordinary bird that Audubon painted from faulty memories.

Just My Take said...

I know this is old now but it's the first time I'd come across these photos. I thought it was Mourning or Connecticut X Canada Warbler

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