Sylvia atricapilla - autumn



In 1cy, moult contrasts are often present in GC and sometimes also in AL, RR and TT. Adult birds show a uniform and freshly moulted plumage. Colour of iris is supportive. 

  • If present, juv GC (commonly 0-4 juv GC unmoulted) are detectable by being warmer brown, slightly more worn and with looser texture. If all GC are moulted, there is still a  contrast between retained juv PC and GC (less easily detected). Note that outermost GC1 sometimes is slightly browner than other GC (even within the same generation), and an assessment of feather structure is recommended.
  • Juv PC usually show a looser texture and browner edges compared to adult birds.
  • Juv AL are rather brownish (and in the same state of wear as PC), sometimes contrasting with post-juv AL showing fresher greyish or olive edges and a glossy dark/black centre.
  • Juv TT show a looser texture and a slightly browner ground colour and contrast with post-juv GC. Any post-juv TT are recognized by being denser with a darker olive ground colour, similar to post-juv GC.
  • Juv RR (as well as PP) are generally narrower, slightly more pointed and show a poorer feather quality (less dense, less gloss and with a brownish ground colour).
  • Iris is often helpful during autumn – most 1cy have a rather cold dark grey iris, sometimes with slight brownish tint.
  • Whole plumage fresh, lacking moult contrasts.
  • PC are dense and often show fresh greyish or olive edges.
  • AL show glossy dark centres with fresh greyish or olive edges.
  • TT show a dense texture and a more olive ground colour, similar to the GC.
  • RR (as well as PP) are broader, and in better condition (denser, darker and with more gloss). 
  • Iris is warmer brown.

1cy (male) September. The 2 outermost GC are retained juv, showing warmer brown colour and less dense texture, contrasting to the adjacent post-juv GC. [1EV96067]

1cy (female) September, showing variation. Note retained juv GC1-2. [1ET80099]

1cy (male) September. Some young birds (at Ottenby 11%) include all 10 GC in the post-juv moult. Note, however, that the post-juv GC still contrast to juv PC, CC and AL. [1EV96070]

1cy (female) September. A somewhat fresher looking bird (with still fresh PC) but with juv GC1-2, CC and (at least the longer two) AL retained. [1EV96965]

2cy+ (male) September. Note overall fresh, dense and uniform plumage lacking any moult contrasts. [1EZ23512]

2cy+ (female) September. Another ad bird showing variation. [1EV96935]

1cy (male) October. Juv PC are freyed, less dense and usually lack the neat grey or olive edges seen in ad birds. Note also retained juv CC, AL and outer GC1-2. [S504790]

1cy (female) September. A rather fresh plumage, and PC are not always easy to assess. Compared to the adult PC shown below, note less dense texture, brownish ground colour and slightly freyed tips. Note also retained juv GC1-2, CC and AL. [1EV96965]

2cy+ (male) September. Post-br PC are fresh, dense, dark grey and show neat edges grey or brownish-olive. Note also fresh and dense ad-type AL. [1EZ23512]

2cy+ (female) September, showing variation. [1ET81879]

1cy (male) August. All three TT are of typical juvenile quality - loose texture with slightly paler brownish centres than in ad. During autumn, faster wearing juv feathers will enhance the difference with the ad ones. Comparison with the inner post-juv GC is often helpful. [1ET80079]

1cy (female) September. Note the contrast between the moulted post-juv T2 and the retained juv T1 and T3. Post-juv TT are denser in texture and show a greyish-olive ground colour, similar to inner post-juv GC. [1EZ23457]

2cy+ (male) September. Adult TT are denser and have slightly more glossy and darker grey centre. [1EZ23512]

2cy+ (female) September showing variation in adult TT. [1EV96935]

1cy (male) September. Juv RR are generally slightly narrower and pointed and show a poorer feather quality (less dense, less gloss and with a brownish ground colour). In this bird the RR is stll rather fresh. Note the replaced post-juv left R3. [S504790]

1cy (male) August, showing variation with a more worn tail. [1ET80079]

2cy+ (male) September. Ad RR are generally slightly broader and in better condition (denser, darker more glossy). [1EZ23463]

2cy+ (female) September, showing variation. [1EV96001]

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