© Yevgeny Belousov

all photos of serie (clickable):

author: Yevgeny Belousov
location: South Kazakhstan, Dzhabagly v.
date: 2012-05-12
equipment: Canon EOS 6D + EF300 + extender x 1,4

2017-02-20. Анна Ясько:

Евгений Михайлович, Вы можете добавить фото, которые загрузились поодиночке, к этой серии (через кнопку "добавить фото в серию"). А те я удалю.

2017-02-20. Евгений Белоусов:

Добавил, спасибо.

2017-02-20. Аскар Исабеков:

Евгений Михайлович, Вы же главный спец по бормотушкам. Пожалуйста, давайте Вы уж первым скажите свое мнение. Что Вы думаете?

2017-02-20. Евгений Белоусов:

К сожалению, в первоначальном определении я мог ошибаться (или ошибся). Я имел переписку по поводу этой серии с Ларсом Свенсоном. Он пошатнул моё первоначальное мнение. Это письмо довольно большое, чтобы его здесь приводить. Но многие критерии, которые он приводит, сводятся больше-меньше, темнее - светлее, что можно проверить имея обоих (сравниваемых) птиц в руках. Итак, Ваше мнение ?.

2017-02-20. Аскар Исабеков:

"многие критерии, которые он приводит, сводятся больше-меньше, темнее - светлее"
А каие есть абсолютные признаки?

2017-02-21. Евгений Белоусов:

Я всё же решил поделиться мнением Свенссона.
Dear Yevgeny,

First, I understand there are two Zhabagly villages in Kazakhstan, one in the north-east (51,31N/78,49E), another in the south (near Chokpak ringing station). I assume that it was in the latter place you took your images of an Iduna species.

The problem is that, although Sykes’s Warbler I. rama is far more likely to occur in the Chimkent area, both species breed sympatrically where they meet, south to E part of Moyunkum Desert and adjacent foothills of Ala-Tau, and the sympatric area reaches towards north-east to locally north of Almaty. I attach a paper I once wrote on the subject.

So which species is it, Booted or Sykes’s? I should add that Booted Warbler, Iduna caligata, which you said is ‘difficult to photograph in Kazakhstan’ breeds from this mentioned area and across entire E and N Kazakhstan and is very numerous from Volga Delta over whole of Kirghiz Steppe, around Astana and east to Zaysan Basin and south to Lake Alakol and Lake Balkhash. Thus, both species are widely distributed and quite numerous in large parts of Kazakhstan.

Considering the above, and that the bird you photographed is from the overlap area, it becomes important to pay attention to habitat, voice and finer details in shape and plumage to decide which species you have portrayed. Only you can know about habitat and vocalisations of your birds, but I would be interested to hear any further information on this that you might have and like to share.

Although Booted usually breeds (puts its nest) in lower scrub (man high or even on the steppe in scrub reaching to your waistline or even to your knees only) but can sing from or feed in higher bushes or trees, Sykes’s will not tolerate lower than man high vegetation, the species is normally found in 2–4 m high bushes or low trees, in mangroves even in higher vegetation.

The song of Booted is fast and guttural, often starts slightly slower with subdued voice but quickly picks up speed and volume and finishes in a small crescendo. The strophe is irregular and without clear pattern, I have likened it with ‘simmering water in a pot on oven’. The song of Sykes’s starts at full volume, sounds the same all through, includes repeated notes or phrases in Sedge Warbler fashion. The two songs are similar but can be told apart after some practice.

Call notes differ slightly, too. Booted’s call is more compound, sounds as chreck, as if with ‘r’ in, whereas Sykes’s call is drier and more stone-clicking, like zett, a bit like Lesser Whitethroat and many other Sylvia species.

Looking then at structure and plumage, Booted is a little bit more compact with shorter bill and tail, Sykes’s more slim and elongated (though still a small difference). Plumage-wise the two differ on Booted being on average a little darker above, Sykes’s more sand-coloured. In Booted, centres of tertials average slightly darker and more contrasting, in Sykes’s the tertials tend to look plainer. Supercilium is often better marked in Booted, reaching a bit behind eye, while in Sykes’s supercilium is less well-marked and averages shorter, often ending over eye (though I have seen breeders in Kazakhstan with a longer supercilium reaching somewhat behind eye). Lower mandible averages paler in Sykes’s, having at most just a slight darkish ‘smudge’ inside tip, whereas in Booted it is more common that outer half of lower mandible is darkish, still there is some overlap in this character as well.

So, after going through this background, let us look again at your many fine pictures of the same or few birds in Zhabagly near Chokpak. The more I look at them, the more convinced do I become that they show Booted Warbler, not Sykes’s Warbler. When judging all the photographs I fail to see any convincing proofs for them to be Sykes’s Warbler.

If we still disagree it is perhaps best not to consider using them in our forth-coming handbook (we prefer to agree with our photographers about species!), and I would understand your reasons fully if you preferred not to see them published as something you did not agree with. But in the event you agree that they are of Booted Warbler, we would very much like to use image 96489 as showing a summer breeder of that species.

If you have any late summer or autumn images of Booted Warbler we would be very interested to see them as well.

I will write separately about the many Hume’s Leaf Warbler images you also sent.

Best wishes,

2017-02-21. Олег Белялов:

Я принял птицу за caligata просто посмотрев на пальцы. Она в английском Booted - обутая. Есть разница в цвете. Как-то в мае видимо 2000 я встречал таких на Машате и сильно удивился. Сейчас думаю что это или задержавшиеся на пролёте, либо просто оставшиеся. Не знаю и утверждать не буду. Потом увидел письмо Ларса, как всегда он пишет - подробно и длинно, со сложным текстом. Сейчас переведу через переводчик. Это будет интересно. Я исключаю rama из претендентов из за окраски ног. Какова у птицы проекцая первостепенных - короткая или очень короткая - я не понимаю. Что касается pallida то её я отличаю только по одному признаку, который мне 20 лет назад показал Ларс - это подёргивание хвостом во время пения. Остальное (сообразуясь с моими знаниями) только в природе или лучше в руках. Если по фото, то часто от лукавого...

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