Fly throat photo and description

Barn Swallow Identification

Adult (American)

Sparrow-sized swallow with broad shoulders that taper to long, pointed wings. Adult males have a steely blue back, wings, and tail, and tawny underparts. The throat and forehead is rusty.

Adult (White-bellied)

European birds have a whitish belly and a thick blue band across the chest.

Upperparts are usually steely blue, but color changes with angle of light. Note long wings. At some times of year, some individuals lack the long tail streamers.

Adult (American)

Slender-bodied with a long, deeply forked tail. From below, the underparts vary from pale cinnamon or tawny to bright cinnamon.

Adult (American)

Flies with fluid wingbeats making quick turns and dives; rarely glides. Tail is long and deeply forked with a white band across it.

Adults (American)

Both males and females help build the nest, using pellets of mud combined with dry grasses.

Juvenile (American)

Juveniles are dark above and pale cinnamon below with rich rusty throat and forehead. Their tail is also shorter without the deep fork.

Juvenile (White-bellied)

Juveniles in Europe have a white belly and tawny throat. The tail is also shorter without the deep fork.

Adults (American)

Often forages in flocks, fairly low to the ground. Flight is very light and agile, with quick turns and little gliding.

Adult (American)

Adults are brightly marked in deep blue, rusty, and cinnamon. Note long forked tail.

Adult (American)

Long and slender with a deeply forked tail. The color of the underparts varies from buffy to rich cinnamon with the females typically having the paler underparts.

Nests are made of mud and grass and usually placed under eaves, barn rafter, bridges, and culverts.

Adult (American)

Collects mud in bill to build a mud and grass nest—often tucked under the eaves of barns and stables, on structures near playing fields, or under bridges.

Often seen in flocks in open habitats from fields, parks, and roadway edges to marshes, meadows, ponds, and coastal waters.

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When perched, the sparrow-sized Barn Swallow appears cone shaped, with a slightly flattened head, no visible neck, and broad shoulders that taper to long, pointed wings. The tail extends well beyond the wingtips and the long outer feathers give the tail a deep fork.

Relative Size

Slightly smaller than a bluebird; slightly larger than a Tree Swallow

sparrow-sized or smaller

  • Both Sexes
    • Length: 5.9-7.5 in (15-19 cm)
    • Weight: 0.6-0.7 oz (17-20 g)
    • Wingspan: 11.4-12.6 in (29-32 cm)

Barn Swallows have a steely blue back, wings, and tail, and rufous to tawny underparts. The blue crown and face contrast with the cinnamon-colored forehead and throat. White spots under the tail can be difficult to see except in flight. Males are more boldly colored than females.

Barn Swallows feed on the wing, snagging insects from just above the ground or water to heights of 100 feet or more. They fly with fluid wingbeats in bursts of straight flight, rarely gliding, and can execute quick, tight turns and dives. When aquatic insects hatch, Barn Swallows may join other swallow species in mixed foraging flocks.

You can find the adaptable Barn Swallow feeding in open habitats from fields, parks, and roadway edges to marshes, meadows, ponds, and coastal waters. Their nests are often easy to spot under the eaves or inside of sheds, barns, bridges and other structures.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Identification

Adult male

Tiny, with long wings and bill. Dusky below with a bright red throat, black mask, and green crown.

Tiny, with long wings and bill. Mostly white below, with buffy flanks, a dusky mask, and green upperparts.

Adult male

Tiny bird with emerald green back and brilliant red throat. The throat is iridescent and looks black or dark red, then lights up when viewed at the correct angle.

Adult male

In some lights the throat of the adult male can appear black.

Adult male

Upperparts bright metallic green, and short tail is black and forked.

Hovers with pinpoint precision, beating wings so fast they’re almost invisible. Drinks nectar by probing flowers with long, thin bill.

Upperparts bright metallic green, and short tail is mostly black with white tips to the outer feathers.

Immature male

Feeds on a variety of flowering plants. Immature males have some red feathers on the throat.

Eats insects in addition to nectar, often plucking them from spiderwebs or taking them from a sapsucker’s sap wells.

Adult male

Sometimes perches prominently on exposed branches.

Nestlings have shorter bills than adults. Nest is thimble-sized, made with spiderweb that stretches as the young birds grow.

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The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a small hummingbird with a slender, slightly downcurved bill and fairly short wings that don’t reach all the way to the tail when the bird is sitting.

Relative Size

Same size as a Black-chinned Hummingbird

sparrow-sized or smaller

  • Both Sexes
    • Length: 2.8-3.5 in (7-9 cm)
    • Weight: 0.1-0.2 oz (2-6 g)
    • Wingspan: 3.1-4.3 in (8-11 cm)

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are bright emerald or golden-green on the back and crown, with gray-white underparts. Males have a brilliant iridescent red throat that looks dark when it’s not in good light.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fly straight and fast but can stop instantly, hover, and adjust their position up, down, or backwards with exquisite control. They often visit hummingbird feeders and tube-shaped flowers and defend these food sources against others. You may also see them plucking tiny insects from the air or from spider webs.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds live in open woodlands, forest edges, meadows, grasslands, and in parks, gardens, and backyards.

Muditha Vidanapathirana

1 Senior Lecturer, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka.

Jeewana C Samaraweera

2 Acting Consultant Judicial Medical Officer, District General Hospital, Vavuniya, Sri Lanka.

The forensic pathologists have a challenging task during the ascertainment of the manner of death in cut throat injuries when presented with no proper history or witnesses. We report a rare homicide, where a person was killed by the father of his gay partner. A 51-year-old married man was found dead in his car on the driving seat at a road. There were blood stains on the dash board and windscreen. No weapon had been recovered. At autopsy, a deep, oblique, long incised injury was found on the front of the neck. There were no hesitant or defense injuries. The cause of death was cut throat. The findings were compatible with a homicidal cut throat by a right handed person from behind after head being restrained firmly. Findings were compatible with the history provided by the suspect.

Case Report

A 51-year-old married man was found dead in his car on the driving seat at a busy roadway around 1.30 p.m. He had been a right handed person.

No weapon had been recovered from the vehicle or at the scene. On examination, there was lot of blood and blood stains in the vehicle including the dashboard and the windscreen.

The initial post-mortem investigation revealed no suspect. At the autopsy, the clothes showed vertical distribution of blood [ Table/Fig-1 ]. A deep, obliquely placed, long incised neck injury was found on the front side of the neck. The left end of the injury started below the ear at upper third of the neck and deepened gradually with severance of the left carotid artery. The right sided end of the injury was at the mid third of the neck with a tail abrasion [ Table/Fig-2 ].

Clothes showed vetical distribtion of blood stains and the left end of the cut throat started just below the ear.

Cut throat from right side.

There were no other injuries including hesitant cuts or defense injuries. Lungs showed aspiration of blood. Deceased’s blood was negative for alcohol. There was no evidence such as frothy blood or air emboli in right ventricle to suggest air embolism. Postmortem X-ray of the chest for the detection of air in the venous system and heart was not done due to technical constraints. Cause of death was cut throat.

Later, the suspect was produced, and he was the father of the deceased’s gay partner. The suspect and his son had got into the deceased’s car to request him to terminate this relationship, because the son did not consent for an arranged marriage. The suspect had been in the rear seat right behind the deceased and the son had been the front seat passenger. When the deceased disagreed to terminate the relationship, father of the gay partner had cut the throat of the deceased using a knife and both had escaped. The suspect was a right handed person.


Cut throats can be homicidal, suicidal or accidental [1]. Homicidal cut-throats are a well-recognized method of killing while suicidal cut throats are less commonly reported and accidental cut throats are rare [2]. The forensic pathologists have a challenging and important task when ascertaining the manner of death when cut throats are presented with no proper history or witnesses [3]. It was highlighted in the OJ Simpson case too, where the body of OJ Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole was found dead with her throat cut [4].

Emotionally driven murders are committed by mothers in neonaticides [5], intimate partners of hetero or homosexual relationships, etc. Further, killing of a gay partner by the other partner has been reported in literature due to different reasons such as attempting to terminate the relationship, initiate a relationship with another partner, etc. However, the case under discussion is a rare homicidal cut throat where the perpetrator was the father of the gay partner.

Accidental cut throats are exceptionally rare. They are usually seen only when a victim goes through a sheet of glass or is struck in the neck by a sharp-edged missile or flying piece of glass [6]. In this case, there was no evidence of the vehicle being met with an accident to sustain such a cut throat injury.

The suicidal cut throat wound is similar to the homicidal cut throat from behind. The wound usually begins higher on the neck on the side opposite to where it terminates [6]. Since the deceased was a right handed person, the suicide cut throat should typically start from upper third of the left side of the neck and be ended at a point lower than the origin on the right side as was found in this case.

Suicidal cut throats are usually, but not always, accompanied by hesitation marks [6]. In this case, no such hesitation injuries were found. Further, a fatal suicidal cut throat may be accompanied by cadaveric spasm with the knife found firmly clenched in the victim’s hand. According to the investigation findings, even a weapon was not found at the scene. Further, there were no self-inflicted injuries or scars such as multiple, parallel and superficial injuries in accessible sites according to dexterity of the deceased [7]. When the history, autopsy findings and scene findings are considered the suicidal cut throat could be safely excluded.

Homicidal cut throats can be produced in two different ways; depending on whether they are produced from the back or the front [4]. Of those two methods, cutting a person’s throat from behind is the most common. The head is pulled back, and the knife is then drawn across it. The knife is drawn across the neck, from left to right by a right-handed assailant and from right to left by a left-handed individual [6]. The wound inflicted deepening at the beginning and then tails off at the opposite side of the neck [8]. The gradually deepening left end should be the beginning [8] of the cut throat and was reconfirmed by the tail abrasion found at the right end. Therefore, the direction of this cut throat should be left to right.

The homicidal cut throat injuries inflicted from behind are usually longer. They usually starts below the ear, runs obliquely downward and medially, then straight across the midline of the neck, and ends on the opposite side of the neck, lower than its point of origination [6]. Therefore, in this case, the neck incision was compatible with a cut throat from behind by a right handed person.

Contrary to that, the homicidal cut throats inflicted from the front tend to be short and angled. Horizontal wounds inflicted from the front are the least common [6]. Further, instead of the neck being cut with one long, continuous motion, these wounds are inflicted by several swipes or slashes [6] and such short injuries were not found in this case. Therefore, homicidal cut throat inflicted from the front side can be safely excluded.

It was noticeable that the deep cut throat found in this case was a single incision without surrounding injuries. Multiple, parallel, superficial cuts found above and below the deep fatal cut in homicides suggest that the deceased attempted to get away, his head was not sufficiently immobilized by restrain and he was intoxicated or tortured [8]. In this case, the alcohol level was negative and there were no such superficial cuts. Presence of single deep cut suggested that the deceased’s head would have been restrained firmly.

Presence of blood stains on the windscreen and dash board of the vehicle further confirmed that it was a deep cut severing the arteries resulting blood spray front of the victim. The vertical distribution of the blood stains re-confirmed the seated position of the deceased in the vehicle at the time of the infliction of injuries.

There was no evidence of mutilation or emotionally driven injuries. Emotionally motivated killings occur in jealousy, intense hatred and in sexual overtones. Further, they show evidence of overkill or rapid stabs and are indicated by multiple, parallel, uniformly deep stabs, grouped in one area of the body with or without mutilation [8]. The killing method used in homicides may reflect the motivation of the offender and qualities of the victim-offender relationship [9], however, such emotionally driven injuries were not found in this case. Absence of such injuries could be important to assess the reliability of the suspect’s claim for the murder rather than his son, the gay partner of the deceased.

At autopsy, there was no evidence of air embolism such as frothy blood or air emboli in right ventricle. Mechanisms of death in this case were blood loss and aspiration of blood following the cut throat.

The length of time it takes to die following an incised wound of the neck depends on several factors. They include whether the venous or arterial systems are severed and whether there is air embolism [6]. In some instances, victims with single carotid artery cut have moved for about 10 minutes [10].


The homicidal pathologists have to assess all the possibilities voicing their adjudgment. As, in this case, the possibilities of the homicidal cut throat injuries inflicted from behind were analysed. With the presence of evidence of spurting and massive haemorrhage, a prolong survival was highly unlikely and the deceased could have survived most probably seconds or minutes.

5 Types of Flies That Might Try to Bite You This Summer

Are fly bites dangerous?

Flies dive-bomb your face, they march across your food, and they can bite. Annoying? Sure. Painful? Sometimes. But are fly bites dangerous? The comforting answer: Rarely.

“Flies are not typically harmful in the United States,” says Rosmarie Kelly, PhD, a public health entomologist with the Georgia Department of Public Health in Atlanta.

Flies generally aren’t responsible for passing on diseases, at least not in the U.S., although their bites can hurt and some people have more serious allergic reactions to their saliva.

Here are five common U.S. flies and what their bites can–and can’t–do to you.

Types of fly bites: Horse fly bites

Horse flies, of course, congregate on and near horses (and other large animals). They are attracted to movement and carbon dioxide, and they like water and teem in hot, humid states like Florida.

Horse flies don’t spread disease to humans, but if you get bitten by one, you’ll know it.

“They have slicing and cutting mouth parts,” says Kelly. “They have little razors that make a shallow groove in the skin and lap up blood.”

You may get a red bump or rash that itches. This type of reaction usually doesn’t need treatment, although an antihistamine cream may soothe some of the sting, says Kelly.

Depending on how sensitive you are to a horse fly’s saliva, you may also get dizzy and weak, start wheezing, or swell in different parts of your body. This is an allergic reaction, and it does need treatment.

See a doctor if you have any allergic symptoms or if you see signs of infection like pus and swelling. Some horse fly bites can lead to cellulitis, a bacterial infection.

Sand fly bites

Sand flies are typically found in southern U.S. states, including Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North and South Carolina.

Sand fly bites can cause small red bumps and blisters that may itch and swell. Antiseptic and soothing lotions will help ease itching and prevent infections from developing.

In rare cases, sand flies can transmit a parasitic disease called leishmaniasis, which can cause skin ulcers, shown above. These usually heal within a year, but they can leave you with scarring.

Northern Territory woman’s throat cut by flying mackerel during fishing trip

Updated September 25, 2018 11:41:24

Belinda Bingham was lying on the floor with blood streaming from her throat when husband Neil turned around from baiting his line.

A 10-kilogram, metre-long mackerel had launched itself from the ocean, at a height of more than a metre and a half, and cut her throat.

“It sure had some momentum. It just knocked me off my feet. [I] didn’t see it coming, didn’t see a thing,” Mrs Bingham said.

“And I came up and just blood was everywhere.”

On Monday last week the pair had been fishing near the ConocoPhillips pipeline off Channel Island boat ramp, about 45 kilometres from Darwin in the Northern Territory.

Mr Bingham said the blood from his wife’s wound soaked through his shirt in seconds.

“Neither of us had a line in the water at the time. I was putting bait on so my back was towards Belinda,” he said.

“Next thing she’s on the floor at my feet going ‘Something’s hit me, something’s hit me’. Looked up, she had her hand to her throat.

“You could see the blood coming out through her fingers, pumping.

“My shirt was just, the whole chest on the righthand side was just blood, and that was in a matter of two or three seconds.”

He quickly called triple zero, and the police and ambulance had arrived by the time they had reached the boat ramp.

‘It’s like a whiplash’

After recovering in Royal Darwin Hospital, Mrs and Mr Bingham spoke to ABC’s Tales from the Tinny.

Hit by flying mackerel

Mrs Bingham was left with a deep wound to her neck, which she said nearly reached her thyroid.

“Other than that it’s the chest pain and my voice, because the fish bashed my throat,” she said.

“And they have been worried about the voice coming back.

“But it’s the chest pain, it’s like a whiplash I think. It’s very sore.”

She was relieved the mackerel had died when it struck her and fell lifeless into the boat.

Otherwise, she thought it would have cut her more.

Asked if they then went on to eat the fish, Mr Bingham said they had decided against it as it had been too long by the time they got his wife to hospital.

“The main thing is she’s still here to tell her story,” he said.

“We survived it. We got over it — well we’re getting over it.”

Injury could have been ‘a lot worse’

St John Ambulance NT operations manager Craig Garraway said the woman could have ended up “a lot worse off”.

“I believe from the paramedics report there, it had actually impacted on a number of major vessels within the throat area,” he said.

“As you’re aware a very serious part of the body to get a nasty laceration and could have ended up a lot worse off.”

He said the couple did well to stem the bleeding as they made their way back to the boat ramp.

While Mrs Bingham’s injury was “an unusual story”, Mr Garraway said he had seen fish leaping through the air during his own fishing trips.

“I’ve been lucky the rogue fish have [only] been flying past me,” he told the ABC.

“Although it does catch your attention and scare the hell out of you because you don’t expect a fish to come flying through the air.”

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