Luscinia svecica- autumn



Pattern and moult status of GC is generally easy to assess. In 1cy, a moult contrast is present among inner GC. Ad birds show a uniform and freshly moulted plumage.



  • Most birds (at Ottenby 97%) include 1-3 inner GC in the post-juvenile moult. Juvenile GC show a looser structure and a pale rusty wedge-shaped spot at the feather tip. Difference in wear between juv and post-juv GC in early autumn is not always obvious, but post-juv inner GC are denser, show darker grey centres and usually lack the pale tip (instead show neat olive-brown edges).
  • Juv PC are often slightly less dense and more loose/frayed than in ad, but this difference is often difficult to detect. In many young birds the pale wedge-shaped GC-tips continue out onto the inner PC.
  • Juv TT usually mirror the pattern and structure of the juv GC, and are often slightly narrower and more pointed than ad type feathers.
  • Juv RR are on average slightly more pointed, paler and (as autumn progresses) worn, but this feature is often rather difficult to use for ageing.


  • Whole plumage fresh, lacking moult contrasts.
  • GC are uniformly olive-brown with no (or only weak) pale tips.
  • PC are slightly more dense, fresh, often with neat grey to warm buff edges (but lacking pale wedge-shaped tips).
  • TT are dense in structure and show evenly pale edges, similar to the post-br GC.
  • RR are on average slightly blunter, darker and in better condition.

1cy (male) September. A rather rufous individual showing moult contrast between juv GC1-8 and post-juv GC9-10. Note slightly darker centres, neat pale edges and lack of wedge-shaped pale spot at the tip of the post-juv GC. [1ET81858]

1cy (female) September. Another bird showing juv GC1-8 in contrast to post-juv GC9-10. [1EV96049]

1cy (male) August, showing variation with contrast between juv GC1-9 and post-juv GC10 and MC. Note also how the pale tips of the juv GC continues onto inner PC. [1EZ23526]

1cy (female) September. Another bird showing juv GC1-8 and post-juv GC9-10. [1ET81853]

2cy+ (male) September. GC uniform and dense looking with diffuse pale edges. Most ad birds lack distinct pale tips to GC, but a few may approach the juv pattern. [1ET80360]

2cy+ (female) September, showing variation of the ad wing. [1EV96943]

1cy (male) August. Inner PC show rusty tips but (in this bird) lack wedge-shaped pale spots. [1EZ23526]

1cy (female) September, showing typical juv patten at the tips of inner PC. [1ET81853]

2cy+ (male) September. Ad PC are generally denser and show evenly pale edges. [1ET80360]

2cy+ (female) September. A slightly greyer bird, showing variation in the ad PC. [1EV96943]

1cy (male) September. Juv TT often mirror the pattern of the juv GC, including the pale wedge-shaped tip. Quite exceptionally, this bird shows a moulted post-juv inner T1, very similar to the post-juv GC9-10 in structure and pattern. [1EV95978]

2cy+ (female) September. Uniform post-br TT lining up with similarly uniform GC. [1EV96943]

1cy (male) August. A uniform juv tail. The RR are slightly more pointed, frayed and paler compared to ad feathers. [1EZ23526]

2cy+ (female) September, showing a uniform set of post-br RR. Slightly blunter, darker and denser compared to juv RR. [1EV96943]

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