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What do you look for when distinguishing the sex of these birds?
The adult male is all black, the female is a brown and sometimes shows faint spotting on the chest (reminding us they are part of the thrush family).
Juvenile birds are similar to the female in colouration but the male gains black tail feathers very early so can be sexed that way.
There is an intermediate stage during the birds first winter/spring where they retains some brown juvenile primary wing feathers so may, at this stage, be aged as well as sexed.
The beak is a vivid orange in the male but brown/grey in the female.
The colour of the bill is as much age related as anything, getting more vivid as the bird gets older, this is true of both male and female. An old female can have a very bright bill; one that uses my dad’s garden is as bright as any male. I’m down there next week, I’ll see if I can get a picture or two.
Lat/Lng: 56.1, -4.2
OS grid ref: NS6495