My photo of “Brown-backed Flowerpecker” in the post on 26 June elicited the following response from ‘The Bird’, which has caused me to re-examine my photos:
“The ‘Brown-backed Flowerpecker’ photo shows an immature male of either a Crimson-breasted or Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker. The dark mottling you can see on neck/nape and mantle, and dark wingcoverts are the first molted parts of the adult male plumage. In time, it will achieve the full aduilt male plumage, get a darker richer iris color, the orange gape will disappear, and the yellow lower mandible will become gray.”
Rather than respond in the reply box, I thought I would post some more of my admittedly terrible photos of the bird. First of all, here’ s the photo in question.
I did see a male Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker in the same tree, and Crimson-breasted, though scarce in Borneo, may well occur in western Brunei according to Myers’ distribution map. So is it either of these rather than Brown-backed?
Similarly, the underparts are a colourless pale grey-brown, with no hint of yellow or olive-green, as there surely would be if this were Crimson-breasted or Yellow-rumped of either sex. This much younger juvenile male Crimson-breasted already shows yellow on the central breast, and this juvenile female shows uniform yellowish-olive underparts.
I was fortunate to get a picture of the carpal tuft as the bird raised its wings. This was cream, shading to white, similar in colour to the carpus of this Brown-backed.
So, all in all, I’m happy with my original identification of the bird. Thanks for the comment though – I always appreciate critical review of my identifications, because it makes me re-examine my assumptions, and I always learn something as a result!