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I am posting this for a friend, who asked for some ID help. I'll detail my diagnosis below, but would love other opinions. This was taken September 26th, on Clear Creek Trail in Buffalo, WY. This area of the trail area is some pine, mostly brush, aspen, and sometimes creek side.

The four Western under tail matches where the body is yellow and the tail is more of a solid dark are Wilson's, MacGillivray's, Common Yellowthroat and Orange-crowned. Looking at the Eastern options, the tails are too short on that end to apply here. (But don't completely discount me on this, it could happen.)

The Blackpoll and Townsend's tails look a lot like the Yellow-rumped, which has the black on the tail looks like black spots almost on the outer tail. Another candidate based on what I've seen there, the American Redstart, while the tail is a match, the belly is not, and I think they've all left already. So I don't think any of those.

I'd leave out the Yellowthroat because it's not bulky enough, and wouldn't typically be high up in a tree. Should be in a marsh.

MacGillivray's, while I have seen them here, I would expect to be more in the undergrowth and not up in the tree tops. What looks like darker coloring around the neck makes me wonder about this diagnosis though.

Now Wilson's, the coloring is a deeper yellow and seems more accurate, but they often seem smaller than this, and the darker coloring around the throat and head are throwing me off.

Orange-crowned...they come in a range of colors it seems, slight variations that can make ID tricky, but they seem lighter on the front than this bird. They do have more of a spiky bill, which this bird seems to have. Given the size....

It's a toss up for me between the last two and I'd lean to OCWA...again what almost looks like a darker hood of some sort is giving me pause for the MacGillivary's.

Would love other opinions! Thank you!

Photo - Joanne Puckett

mystery.JPG-L.jpg

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I’m also leaning Orange-crowned. Streaky breast seems to match. I think there’s a subspecies with a gray/darker head, though I can’t remember where it’s located. 

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The streaky aspect to the chest on a warbler with yellow underparts, in Wyoming, and with those streaks being vague, at best, really leaves only one option: Orange-crowned.

54 minutes ago, Colton V said:

I think there’s a subspecies with a gray/darker head, though I can’t remember where it’s located.

Half of the four subspecies of Orange-crowned have gray heads in many/most individuals, at least in some plumages. The other two are mainly Pacific-slope subspecies.

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