American Birding Podcast



#ABArare – Red-flanked Bluetail – California

On January 7, Rebecca Marshall discovered an ABA Code 4 Red-flanked Bluetail on the grounds of the UCLA Clark Library in Los Angeles, California. This is California’s 3rd record of the Old World chat, but the first to be found on the mainland. Indeed, it is only the 3rd record this species on the mainland of North America.

Photo Rebecca Marshall Macaulay Library

Clark Library is located at 2520 Cimarron Street, west of city center. The grounds are gated, but are open to the public while the library is open from Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. The bird has apparently been present since December 21st, but was never seen clearly enough to identify until recently. It is reportedly very skittish, though the hope is that it will stick around for awhile as it’s been present for nearly over two weeks already.

Red-flanked Bluetail is an Old World Flycatcher known in the ABA Area almost exclusively from the Bering Sea region, where it is more likely in fall than in spring, but very rare in either season. In addition to the records in western Alaska there are five from the rest of the continent, two coming from islands off the coast of California, on SE Farrallon (1989) and on San Clemente (2011). The second bird was famously eaten by one of the island’s endangered endemic subspecies of Loggerhead Shrikes. A birds have also been seen in British Columbia in January of 2013, Oregon in Dec 2015-January 2016, and Idaho from Dec 2016-Jan 2017, some of which stayed for some time.