Interesting male Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) in Imatra Finland 6.12.2017


Above: Male Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella with reddish-brown coloration in supercilium and widely in submoustachial stripe. Imatra, Finland 6.12.2017. Probably 1cy male according to shape and abrasion of tail feathers.

This individual could be some kind of hybrid (Yellowhammer x Pine Bunting Emberiza leucocephalos) . The large amount of brownish-red is situated behind eye and also in submoustachial stripe. This coloration seems to continue below the bill and joining to other submoustachial stripe.

See excellent article Panov et al: Hybridization between Yellowhammer and Pine Bunting in Russia. Dutch Birding 2003.25:17-31. There are some criterias to make scoring and estimate suspected hybrids. Score is based on three characters. This bird seems to have 0+4 (whole eye ring is not brownish, but area behind eye is wide still) +4, which is more likely toward so called yellow hybrid. 

Otherwise plumage seem to be close to Yellowhammer.

I also analyzed plumages of two subspecies (citrinella and caliginosa) of Yellowhammers in my article Caluta 3 July 2012. This kind on pattern is not usual among Finnish Yellowhammers (ssp citrinella).