Emberiza citrinella - spring



Because of the resticted pre-breeding moult (involves head only), autumn criterias are still applicable, though 2cy are more affected to wear during the winter than adult. In 2cy, moult contrasts are often present in TT and sometimes also in RR. Adult birds show a uniform and freshly moulted plumage. The general condition and shape of RR and PC are often helpful.
  • Juvenile RR are generally of less good quality, more worn, narrow and more pointed (but note that the tips may have worn off, resulting in a blunter shape). Some young birds (c. 16% according to Jenni & Winkler [1994]) included one or a few RR in the post-juvenile moult, resulting in a moult contrast.
  • 0-3 TT (often the inner one or two) were included in the post-juvenile moult, and many birds show a moult contrast where the post-juvenile feathers are more dense, in better condition and show a darker centre than the remaining juvenile ones. Be sure to compare with the (juvenile) SS and (post-juvenile) GC.
  • The juvenile PC usually shows a looser texture and slightly more worn tips and edges compared to adult birds. Further, they usually show a slightly paler brown centre and less neat green edges and greyish tips than adult ones, but individual variation should be kept in mind.
  • Many birds show a moult contrast in the CC/alula area, but this is often rather difficult to establish.
  • More or less all individuals moult all ten GC, and these feathers seldom contain any vital information for the ageing (and the contrast to the PC is very hard to see). However, exceptions occur (rarely) and may show a moult contrast with single unmoulted juvenile outer GC.
  • Whole plumage uniform and in better condition, lacking moult contrasts (but remember that singel RR may have been lost and replaced, resulting in contrastingly different wear).
  • Adult RR are generally in better condition, often slightly broader with more blunt shaped tips.
  • PC are of good quality, more dense and often shows a darker and more glossy center and neat green edges and greyish tips.

2cy (male) March. Juvenile RR are generally more worn, show more pointed tips and are, on average, slightly narrower than in adult. Note that some 2cy birds (though not this one) show one or more post-juvenile RR, often among the inner R1-3, being more fresh, slightly broader and with blunter tip. [2KR09696]

2cy (female) March, showing a dominantly juvenile tail but with right R5-6 post-juvenile (and right R2 difficult to judge from the photo alone). [2KR09697]

3cy+ (male) March. Adult RR are generally in better condition, slightly broader with more blunt shaped tips. [2KR09706]

3cy+ (female) April, showing variation of post-breeding tail. [2KR45452]

2cy (male) March. Quite many 1cy, like here, show uniformly juvenile TT. Note the juvenile structure and wear and the rather brownish centra. Compare to the state ande structure of the juvenile inner SS and the post-juvenile inner GC. [2KR44240]

2cy (female) April, showing a moult contrast where the innermost T is moulted post-juvenile, while the outer two are unmoulted juvenile. This contrast may sometimes be rather hard to see, but note the difference in wear as well as in the colour and gloss of the centre, were the inner T is blackish and the longer two are more brownish. [2KR44246]

2cy (female) March. Another bird showing a moult contrast with the two inner TT moulted post-juvenile and the longer one retained juvenile. Again, compare with adjecent inner SS (juvenile) and inner GC (post-juvenile). [2KR30303]

2cy (female) March, showing uniformly post-juvenile TT, contrasting to juvenile inner SS being slightly more worn and less dense in the feather structure. [2KR44244]

3cy+ (male) March, showing uniform post-breeding TT. [2KR09706]

3cy+ (female) March, showing variation in pattern and wear in post-breeding TT. [2KR09678]

2cy (male) March. The juvenile PC shows a looser texture and slightly more worn tips and edges compared to adult birds. Further, the centre of the PC are often slightly paler brownish and less glossy than in adult, and the edges and tips are often less neat green/grey. However, there is a clearvariation, and some individuals are less easy to asses. [2KR09697]

2cy (female) March, showing variation in the juvenile PC. [2KR44244]

3cy+ (male) March. Adult PC are generally in better condition, more glossy dark, more dense and fresh and often show finer green edges greyish tips. [2KR09706]

3cy+ (female) March, showing variation in adult PC. [2KR09678]

2cy (female) March. Since practically all 1cy (like this one) include all ten GC in the post-juvenile moult, GC are seldom of any use for ageing. But exceptions should be expected, and single juvenile outer GC may eventually give further aid in the ageing process. [2KR09697]

3cy+ (female) March, showing a uniform post-breeding wing. [2KR09678]

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