Thursday, 16 December 2004

Rufous-backed Robin, NM: San Antonio

To my knowledge, there are only two records of Rufous-backed Robin in the state of New Mexico in all recorded history, and both of them were in Socorro County. Makes me wonder why no one is seeing them closer to Arizona. The other record, by the way, is at the home of the redoubtable Pat Basham, a local bird artist who has seen a long string of truly incredible records in her yard, such as Groove-billed Ani, Swallow-tailed Kite, and just about every warbler there is.

But the second Rufous-backed Robin was a delight to many as it stayed put and easy to find for several weeks in December 1989. Here are some photos I took on 1989-12-21.

Monday, 16 August 2004

Rufous-backed Robin

This species resembles its widespread relative the American Robin in general appearance, but is a bit smaller at 21.5–24 cm (8.5–9.4 in) long, with an average wingspan of 39.4 cm (15.5 in) and weight of 74 g (2.6 oz). It is named for the adult's rufous or olive-rufous upper back, which contrasts with the grayish head, nape, and rump. The chest and flanks are also rufous. The belly and undertail coverts are white; the throat is white with many black streaks.

The bill and eye-ring are yellow. Females are typically somewhat duller-colored than males. Juveniles, like other juvenile Turdus thrushes, are spotted below; they are browner and have pale flecks above. The subspecies of the Islas Tres MarĂ­as, also found around San Blas, Nayarit, is sometimes considered a separate species, Grayson's Robin orGrayson's Thrush, Turdus graysoni (Ridgway, 1882).

It looks "washed out", with little rufous tinting. The song is slow and warbling, with repetition of phrases. An example is "weedele loo loo freerlii..." The alarm call is a long, mellow, descending whistle, "cheeoo or teeeuu". Other calls resemble those of the American Robin; the flight call is thinner.