Black-capped Gnatcatcher (Polioptila nigriceps), California Gulch, Santa Cruz County
This Black-capped Gnatcatcher was
found by Dennis Wall, Dick Palmer, Reid Freeman, and Marley Wall on 15 December 2008
in California Gulch and photographed by Dennis Wall the same day. It was found
at the base of California Gulch, where you park before walking up the canyon.
Black-capped Gnatcatcher is a casual to rare species in Arizona that
has become resident and breeds in limited areas in southeast Arizona. Since
October 2002 when a pair was found at Patagonia Lake State Park there has been a
substantial increase in their numbers in the state and they are now found at
several locations in SE Arizona. A male Black-capped Gnatcatcher was
reported in June 2008 at this location. See
here. This is
possibly the same individual, now in winter plumage. However, it is also
possible there are several different birds present.
Black-capped and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher have entirely white outer tail feathers.
In winter plumage, Black-capped Gnatcatcher is distinguished by the long bill
and graduated length of tail feathers. Note that males in winter plumage
have a black eyebrow and a pronounced eyering which is lacking in summer.
15 December 2008, photo by Dennis WallAll photos are copyrighted© by photographer
Submitted on 04 January 2009