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Chris Kenyon

Small peach, white, olive-green bird near Boston, MA

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Photographed this in low vegetation in the forested fringe around Chestnut Hill reservoir, southwest of the city.  Habit was that of a flycatcher (?) or possibly warbler or vireo, flitting around from branch to branch, very close to me (had to move back to achieve minimum focus distance of about 3 metres with some shots).  Spent 5 consecutive days within a few hundred yards of where these photos were taken and saw many birds, but no further occurrence of this one.  'Peach' coloured 'shoulders' contrast with lighter yellow undertail.  Prominent black tip to tail.  Extensive 'bristles' around the base of the beak.  Some photos (in poor light) suggested an olive green-brown back.  The photos were taken August 14, around 10am.

Go easy on me (!) - my normal habitat is Europe. I spent a week in Boston on vacation and photographed anything that flew - most of them I can identify but I'm having difficulty with this one.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can identify this.

Small yellow_white_dark_grn_bird_Boston_6259.jpg

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Thanks guys - really appreciate it.  It would have taken me a long time to figure that out!  Redstart was the furthest thing from my mind (OK- Curlew might have been a bit further, but you know what I mean).  Not at all like the Redstart or Black Redstart that we have in Europe. Next time,  I'll keep a completely open mind about bird names and not exclude familiar names from the search!

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Chris Kenyon said:

Thanks guys - really appreciate it.  It would have taken me a long time to figure that out!  Redstart was the furthest thing from my mind (OK- Curlew might have been a bit further, but you know what I mean).  Not at all like the Redstart or Black Redstart that we have in Europe. Next time,  I'll keep a completely open mind about bird names and not exclude familiar names from the search!

Yes, I have also noticed that Old World Redstarts are completely different from the redstarts we have here (the American and the Painted). This is due to the fact that American and Painted Redstarts are unrelated to the Old World Redstarts and are actually a type of New World Warbler. American Redstarts are in the family Parulidae (New World Warbler) and the redstarts you have in Europe are in the family Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatcher).

There are many other birds with this same "problem." Even the American Robin (family Turdidae) is in a completely different family than the European Robin (family Muscicapidae)! 

These birds likely have the same common name based on colors and not on relatedness. 

Edited by akandula
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5 hours ago, akandula said:

These birds likely have the same common name based on colors and not on relatedness. 

The first settlers here named the endemic birds after the ones they resembled back in the Old Country.  As you noted, the American Robin superficially resembles the European one, and that was a good enough reason to name it for those (possibly homesick) settlers.

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