AGE – BEST CRITERIA:
Autumn criterias are still applicable, though 2cy are more affected to wear during the winter than adult. In 1cy, moult contrast is present in GC, most often in the central or inner part of the arm. Exceptionally, all or no GC may be included, and a contrast is then seen towards the juvenile PC or towards the post-juvenile MC. Birds with few moulted GC may also retain single juvenile MC or LC. Adult birds show a uniform and freshly moulted plumage.
- Most birds included 3-6 inner GC in the post-juvenile moult. Juvenile outer GC are usually more worn, paler brown and shorter than post-juvenile ones. The pale edges and tips are rather variable (and often more difficult to assess than in autumn) but in general the juvenile feather shows a more distinct whitish outer edge that often (but not always) reaches the tip and widens along the shaft compared to post-juvenile ones with outer edges in deeper buff, often not reaching the shaft in the tip.
- Juvenile RR are generally more worn, narrow and more pointed, but difficult birds are sometimes seen. The structure is often helpful, with the juvenile feathers being slightly less dense, less glossy and somewhat paler brownish.
- Juvenile TT are generally more worn and contrast to post-juvenile inner GC (or to a single moulted adjacent T).
- Juvenile PC are often slightly narrower, less dense and more loose/frayed than in adult, but difference is not always obvious.
- Whole plumage in good condition, lacking moult contrasts.
- GC are still reasonably rather fresh, dense and often broad with diffuse pale buff edges.
- RR are generally slightly broader, more blunt tipped and often in better condition.
- PC are slightly more broad, dense and in better condition.