jenniferpowell's picture


Observed: 11th January 2012 By: jenniferpowelljenniferpowell’s reputation in Birdsjenniferpowell’s reputation in Birds
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Fenwickfield's picture

eye stripe

it looks like it has a black eye stripe.


David Jardine's picture

Tricky and interesting photo

At present I can't support any of these identifications with confidence. It is certainly a difficult image and it may be that a definitive identification may not be possible.

I'll post a photo of a tail feather of a Nuthatch shortly - there is a pale band across it - this is not visible in the photo, but the tail is closed and this feature may be hidden.

The two white marks on the inner primaries are confusing and I'm not sure if they are relevant, but if they are, they may rule out both Blackbird and Jackdaw.

Given the bird is in the partial shade it is difficult to be certain as to its colouration. It almost appears olive brown as much as grey black.

The structure of the bird may be our best clue - it relatively long winged. Time to think laterally maybe.

If the observer has any other photos it could be helpful if these could be posted.

KelsaeJohn's picture

Mystery bird

Thank you all for your fascinating observations. I must say I did have some doubts - largely due to what I think is my poor quality monitor. The picture certainly wasn't too clear and the bird definitely looked black to me. I did consider Jackdaw but could see no hint of grey on the nape - or, indeed, any hint of an eye stripe! What hardware do you guys have that I obviously need!?!

Rob Coleman's picture

I think this is a Nuthatch

I think this is a Nuthatch (although I didn't know this was 'Wood Nuthatch'). The photo has made it look quite strange, but if you look at the enlarged view (click on photo and then click view original image), you can make out the rusty coloured vent plumage and eyestripe.

Rob Coleman

KelsaeJohn's picture


I have had another look at this photo - taking up Rob's suggestion of clicking on 'view original image'. I am now coming round to the view that it is a Nuthatch. The 'eyestripe' to me, looks like nothing more than a shadow - but it is plausible. I also think the tail looks wrong for Blackbird - too short. However, what does it for me more that anything else is the situation - it is very typically 'Nuthatch'. Given all the comments so far, it's a pity the observer, Jennifer has not contributed. Surely she could offer some info as to the size of the bird. C'mon Jennifer, let's hear from you!

David Jardine's picture

Mystery bird

I'm coming round to thinking this is a Nuthatch. It would to get confirmation it was about the size of a Great Tit.

Looking at Erik Matthysen's excellent book on Nuthatches in the Poyser series, there is a description of a display with sleeked feathers and spread wings - but also a spread tail (which would show the tail markings). So this may be a variant.

The hole in the branch is typical of a Nuthatch nest site, so this could be early breeding behaviour.

Other pointers to Nuthatch are:
- stout chisel like bill
- square shaped tail
- longish wings in relation to tail length

I also see the undertail coverts seen by Rob - well spotted.

An interesting discussion

RoyW's picture


Looks like a Nuthatch to me, though the definition is not good enough to be certain (many features could be 'imagined', including the eye stripe, which could be shadow, and the orange undertail coverts, which could potentially be parts of the tree behind). The white on a Nuthatches tail is only on the corners, and can be hidden when the tail is closed.