Townsend’s Solitaire—photos and links

If you came here from the article in In the Valley—you have arrived!

Unlike many songbird species, Townsend’s Solitaires are not sexually dimorphic—a fancy way of saying that you can’t easily differentiate males and females just by looking at them.  Best field marks are the slender, long-tailed gray body, stunning white eye-ring, and warm patch of tan on the wing.  (Also, when it flies off, you can catch a glimpse of the white tail edgings.)  Here’s a photo of an adult on its favorite winter food source—a juniper branch.  This photo provides a good elongated view of the warm buff patch on the wing.  Juveniles are easy to identify—they have lots of spots on their bodies, although their wings closely resemble those of the adults.  Click here and here to see photos of a youngster.

Townsend’s Solitaires are one of the few avian species that sings throughout the winter, in defense of a precious patch of juniper berries.  You can hear samples of both the beautiful lilting song and the piercing call note here.  Scroll down a bit to the “typical voice” button on the left.

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