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 Post subject: Mystery cisticola
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:04 pm 
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Awards: Birder of the Year (2014) & Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2591
Location: Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2014)
During a trip to Golden Gate Highlands NP earlier today, I encountered this cisticola and two others just like it. I got this shot and another of its tailfeathers, just as it flew off... That "bum shot" is the most useful of the two as it shows features of a cisticola that would normally be conclusive to make an ID call.

Large view

First off, this is a long-tailed bird which eliminates many possibilities. Also the back is well marked, eliminating Lazy. Looking at distribution maps, this leaves only Wailing and Levaillant's


Now, look at that tail! Definately not Levaillant's! Wailing with such white underparts?!? And that eyebrow?!?

That yellow bill? Can this be a juvenile?

Jeez... I need help!

671 Latest lifer: Black coucal

 Post subject: Re: Mystery cisticola
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:35 pm 
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:16 pm
Posts: 590
Hi Johan,

I think you hit the nail on the head with it being a juvenile. If you google search for photos of Levaillant's and Wailing Cisticolas, you will see some photos of Levaillant's very similar to your bird, including some which show a hint of a tail pattern similar to the one in your second photo and with the yellow on the bill.

Levaillant's is also a generally brighter looking bird than Wailing and the reddish wing panel also looks good for Levaillant's.

I'd hate to make a definitive call though, only going on comparisons with other pics here.

Interesting one to look up though, so thanks for posting this.


A Birder's Eye View of Kruger

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