THREE “HALLOWEEN-COLOURED” BIRDS ON ABACO
Black and orange seem to have become – perhaps always have been – the colours most associated with Halloween (“Holy Evening” at one time in its history). Black, I suppose, for witches and their cats; orange for pumpkins and fire. In nature, surprisingly few creatures and plants have an exclusively black and orange livery. Some birds. A salamander of two. A few fish and butterflies. The odd flower.
I decided for no reason at all to spend (waste?) a small amount of time discovering which birds found on Abaco are true Halloween species. I had to allow for some white markings, on the spurious basis that white is not a colour but rather an absence of colour… That left 3 species (and even then some troublemakers might argue that the precise borderline between yellow and orange is debatable…).
The Redstart Setophaga ruticilla is a species of warbler and a common winter resident on Abaco. They are mostly seen in the coppice and in gardens. The male is black with orange markings; the female has yellow markings instead of orange.
These Orioles Icterus galbula are rather less common winter visitors. Many are completely black and orange apart from white wing bars. However, there’s no doubt that others are more of a yellowy-orange.
The handsome, colourful Spindalis zena is one of my favourite birds. The Spindalis is a common permanent resident, and I am determined to make it qualify as a Halloween bird even though (arguably) plenty of its surface area is neither black not orange. Apologies to purists.
Credits: Craig Nash, Gerlinde Taurer, Tom Sheley, Keith Salvesen, pinterest, wiki & an unknown Angry Bird pumpkin carver
That second shot of the spindalis is outstanding with the sharp bird on the green and blue field.
I should really have put it first but I added one of my own photos above it as an afterthought and it was easiest to put it on top. Maybe I’ll swap them round some day! RH
Just tried getting some pics of the American RedStart and boy are they fast. When my flash would go off they would move. The wings are up in the air every time!
Quick as a flash, then?! Here’s a challenge: to get a male and a female together, showing their orange and yellow plumage differences. I’ve never managed it – nor seen the 2 sexes together at the same time for that matter… RH
Oh that western spindalis is a handsome bird!
Well it certainly is. And it seems to know it – they usually perch rather proudly. The first pic of the unusually hunched one with a ‘ruff’ turned out to be courting a lady spindalis who was below him in the bush. I never saw her but he was plainly working his look on her… RH
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Perfect for your photo!