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Pyrrhuloxia X cardinal hybrid ?


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Nothing about the bird's shape (bill, head) suggests Pyrrhuloxia to me. I suggest that it is an old female that, with the reduction of female hormones, is now expressing male plumage features, a well-known phenomenon. Unlike humans and all (?) mammals, the default sex of birds is male -- that is, male is the homozygous sex, while female is the heterozygous sex. In female birds, hormones suppress male plumage features, so with the reduction in amount of female hormone levels as individual birds age, they can -- and frequently do -- begin expressing those male plumage features.

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1 hour ago, Tony Leukering said:

Nothing about the bird's shape (bill, head) suggests Pyrrhuloxia to me. I suggest that it is an old female that, with the reduction of female hormones, is now expressing male plumage features, a well-known phenomenon. Unlike humans and all (?) mammals, the default sex of birds is male -- that is, male is the homozygous sex, while female is the heterozygous sex. In female birds, hormones suppress male plumage features, so with the reduction in amount of female hormone levels as individual birds age, they can -- and frequently do -- begin expressing those male plumage features.

Good point when I first looked I though it might be the hybrid but it didn’t look quite right, this makes way more sense 

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Thank you both for your input and suggestions.

This bird was accepted by eBird as a hybrid and hybrid Facebook group concurred.

i will read up on spontaneous sex change in birds. Sounds very intriguing to me Tony Leukering.

 

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Also the subspecies of Northern Cardinal in Arizona (Cardinalis cardinalis sperbus), is more Pyrrhuloxia-like than other subspecies of Northern Cardinal, (for example, taller crested, larger, etc.). I'm not convinced that this is a hybrid, although it may be. Bill shape looks pretty typical of Cardinal to me.

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