Sunday, November 14, 2010

Is this a Cave Swallow?

I was going through my lifebird photos (yes, again, AB!) and cropping them a bit more, doing some photo-editing, etc. when I noticed this bird in my shot of Purple Marlins:Perhaps a juvenile Cave Swallow? Note the pale cheek and throat and the pale spot above the eyes on the forehead (non-birdy terms, I know, but you get the idea). If it were a juvey Barn Swallow, the throat would be more reddish. If it were a Cliff, it would have a dark throat. All this is according to Sibley.

What do you think?

I took this photo two years ago in Cape May with Baby G, so it's not like I'm going to count this as a lifer, but I would like to know whether I'm IDing it correctly.


John said...

It looks right for Cave Swallow, but what time of year was this? Cave Swallows generally show up in Cape May in late fall – generally late October through November. A pale-headed swallow at that time of year is likely to be a Cave. Cliff Swallow is probably more likely in spring and summer (though I don't think they breed near Cape May).

Young Purple Martins can have pale foreheads too, but the proportions don't look right to me for that species.

Beth said...

can't comment on the swallow id - I am more of a novice than you, but did you get a Cave Swallow in Cape May last month? Would be awfully cool if you this was a photo of one. How many of your life birds do you have pix of now?

dguzman said...

John--it would've been late April, which doesn't quite match the plumage/juvey pic in the Sibley, but maybe it was late/early?

Bath--I never saw the Cave; I only heard someone say "Cave!" and I looked up but didn't find it in that huge swarm of No. Rough-wings -- so I didn't count it. I hope the pic is a Cave Swallow--I'll definitely have to look for them in Texas, along with Bank Swallows. I'm up to 196 lifer photos, which means I have a lot of work to do this spring (I need a lot of warbler pics).

Alex Lamoreaux said...


This is just a purple martin, adult female plumage.

dguzman said...

Aw, dangit, Alex. You're probably right. Given the time of year, Cave didn't seem quite right per Sibley's illustrations.