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 Post subject: Bird ID Challenge 2012 - 2013
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:18 pm 
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Please note that challenges 5,14, 18 and 19's pictures don't show anymore, therefore those challenges have been left out.

So, it seems as if the Xmas edition was easier than normal because ‘mites generally had to work hard to get the answers, but scored very well!

We had 13 participants, which is understandable considering the nature of the times we are in currently! with 2012 in baby-shoes…
The ‘mites’ performances were very evenly distributed as follows:
1 ‘mite scored 4
1 ‘mite scored 7
2 ‘mites scored 8
2 ‘mites scored 9
2 ‘mites scored 9
2 ‘mites scored 10
one ‘mite scored 11
one ‘mite scored 12
and three got all IDs correct.

Image

#1 – Common Black-headed Gull; non-breeding [11] . Tilandi wrote: Colour of beak, small earphones and wing pattern.

Image

#2 – Eurasian Curlew [12] . Mutorashanga wrote: One of the largest coastal wading birds, with a long down curving bill; plumage browner and with more contrast in the plumage markings than the similar Whimbrel. The head of the bird has no particular distinctive markings unlike the Whimbrel, which has white eyebrows and a white central stripe. The bird is probably a juvenile male distinguishable by the shorter bill and the pinkish tinge to the base to the lower mandible.

Image

#3 – Little Tern [8] . I got quite a few ‘mites thinking that there were two soecies here. Mutorashanga wrote: One of the smallest terns, with a well defined white forehead. Adults have a yellow bill with black tip, while non-breeding individuals have a dark bill, dark leading upper forewings and primaries. Both are visible in the photo. The tern is also identified by the black outer primaries, which are present in breeding and non-breeding individuals.

Image

#4 was the first picture with two species… #4a – Whiskered Tern [7] is the bird exercising in the foreground. The habitat is freshwater. The bird is in a transitional stage with distinctive white underwings and partial darker belly feathers that becomes slate grey when in full breeding plumage. The bird has a red bill and legs distinguishing it from other freshwater terns. Once you got the habitat right, the rest was easy.

#4b – White-winged Tern [8] . Tilandi wrote: Non-breeding – mottled grey above with white below. Black earphones, black bill, red legs.

Image

#5 – Rock Kestrel [11] . Many ‘mites said they battled with the ID, but I think the overall appearance and numerous small individual features helped 11/13 ‘mites to eventually get the right ID. This bird could only be confused with a lesser kestrel male in which case the upperwing should be plain rufous which it si not. THAT is the single ID feature that would have clinched the correct ID.

Image

#6 – Female Montagu's Harrier [11] . Facial mask was clear enough to make this an easy ID.

Image

#7 – Southern Giant Petrel [9] . The large bill with long nasal tube is distinctive and the tip of the bill colour is the main diagnostic feature to distinguish it from the very similar Northern Giant Petrel that has a darker (brown/pink) tip to its bill. The Southern Giant Petrel has a paler green-tinged tip. This feature is evident both in juveniles and adults.

Image

#8 – This picture featured five species. #8a – Grey Plover [12] was found by all but one ‘mite.

#8b – Red Knot [10] was missed by three ‘mites. The Knot is the smaller plover-like bird in the background with rufous plumage.

#8c – Sanderling [6] . Although the statistics suggest this was the most difficult ID, I don’t think so… it was just well-hidden. It is the only bird in flight that is not a Curlew sandpiper – banking steeply in the right quarter of the photograph. Mutorashanga remembers: The Sanderling was the subject of an earlier ID challenge, with its distinctive grey shoulder to nape band, grey eye stripe and dark shoulder. The dark bill is also quite sturdy.

#8d –Curlew Sandpiper [10] . Mutorashanga says: It is the only sandpiper with a evenly down curving bill and rufous underparts when in breeding plumage. There is also a distinctive eye stripe. A narrow white band is visible in the wing.

#8e – Terek Sandpiper [12] . Virtually everyone spotted the lone individual in the background towards the right, with its distinctive orange legs and long evenly upturned bill.

Some of you found the change to waders and pelagic birds a challenge, but, in spite of being unfamiliar with them, you rose to the challenge, scoring on average best ever!

Read more about:

1. Common Black-headed Gull unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
2. Eurasian Curlew unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
3. Little Tern unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
4. Whiskered Tern and White-winged Tern
5. Rock Kestrel
6. Montagu's Harrier
7. Southern Giant Petrel unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
8. Grey Plover, Red Knot unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet, Sanderling, Curlew Sandpiper and Terek Sandpiper unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:32 am 
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The New Year’s edition saw five brand new ‘mites participating! :clap: With a rush of entries yesterday, we ended with 18, second best for a challenge so far! If this is the sort of popularity the challenge will enjoy in 2012, a long and fruitful run of challenges will be posted!

This challenge returned lop-sided results, probably because two of the birds were really tough to ID!
The results were as follows:
1 ‘mite scored 2
4 ‘mites scored 4
6 ‘mites scored 5
3 ‘mites scored 6
2 ‘mites scored 7
and two got all IDs correct.

Image

#1 – Common Scimitarbill [11] . Except for a few ‘mites, most started out looking at sunbirds. PNF wrote: Fiddled around for ages with the Sunbirds before I realised that none of them had a blue sheen to their feathers! Other pointers were the long, black decurved bill and the habitat – a thorn tree. MattAxel saw the yellowish gape that suggests that this is a juvenile bird, so you can’t use the black beak to ID this as a Scimitarbill, because both juvenile Wood-hoopoes also have a black bill. The fact that it has a heavily decurved bill and has black feet clinches the ID as a Common Scimitarbill.

Image

#2 – Fledgling pin-tailed whydah [3] . All suffered with this ID. I posted these shots about three months ago and a ‘mite with a good memory would have had an advantage! Roberts VII warns that confusion with many other species is possible at this age. The bill will start to turn red from the base within days after independence while the very prominent white tubercles will start to shrink away. These birds are just out of the nest, probably first or second day out!

None of the bird guides have a good illustration of a very young juvenile. Newmans' and Sasol's efforts both fail to show the buffy supercilium and cheeks nor the slightly darker eye stripe. The Oberprieler and Cillié photographic guide has a semi-decent picture... though very small and at an unnatural angle. I don't know of any other guide that has a picture... The PTW fledgling accentuates the point that one can never have too many resources…

Image

#3 – Yellow-breasted Apalis [16] . No trouble here…
Mutorashanga wrote: A very distinctive bird, with the light grey head, yellow breast,
light green back, and bright ochre eyes.


Image

#4 – Southern Black Korhaan [11] . The clue: Seen @ WCNP posted below the picture was missed by many and an ID that would be simple, became a nightmare!

Image

#5 – Hartlaub’s Gull [15] . Another walkover… Mutorashanga wrote: Obviously gulls in non-breeding plumage. The heads are very white, and the legs and bill are very dark red, almost black. The legs and bill would be redder in breeding plumage. The tail is also completely white, with a slight convex curve to the end of the tail.

Image

#6 – Long-billed Pipit [4] . Another one with few correct answers. A good number of larks were proposed! If you suggested a lark, you need to again look at the basic features that allow one to differentiate between larks and pipits and work with those until you have them down pat. “Family” is the first answer you need to find before drilling down to specific species. GISS refers to the general appearance of a bird. This is the magic formula by which features are consulted in combination to pin point a bird family or specific ID while bird-watching. Having just a photograph to work from limits one to just a few features, making the ID tougher than it would be if you were observing the bird in the wild. However, the difference is that you can now observe detail that is not always so easily seen in the wild. Bill shape is normally enough to make the lark/pipit call from a picture; a pipit’s bill generally being less heavy than that of a lark.

To get to the specific pipit ID a process of elimination should be followed. First, kick to touch all plain-backed (that includes “Buffy”) and short-tailed pipits. Mattaxel suggests: One can eliminate African Pipit due to the more subtly marked face, malar stripe and pinkish base to the bill of this bird. The rocky habitat is totally wrong for Wood Pipit. Eliminate African Rock Pipit by lack of yellow edges to wing coverts. Eliminate Kimberly Pipit by less distinct supercillium and malar stripe and brown, not rufous, ear coverts.

Image

#7 – Cape Siskin [17] posed very little problems

Image

#8 – Red-chested cuckoo, juvenile [17] was easy.

Read more about:

1. Common Scimitarbill Unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
2. Pin-tailed Whydah
3. Yellow-breasted Apalis
4. Southern Black Korhaan
5. Hartlaub's Gull
6. Long-billed Pipit
7. Cape Siskin
8. Red-chested Cuckoo

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:03 pm 
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We had two new ‘mites participating! :clap: With a rush of entries yesterday and this morning, (and one late this afternoon) we ended with 18 replies. Unfortunately I cannot wait any longer, jesica. Try doing #3… :wink:

This challenge again returned lop-sided results, probably because two of the birds were tough to ID, one very much so! Generally speaking, I think this was one of the best answered challenges, with an average 72%-score.

The results were as follows:
1 ‘mite scored 3
3 ‘mites scored 4
3 ‘mites scored 5
5 ‘mites scored 6
5 ‘mites scored 7
and one got all IDs correct.
So, here are the results for challenge No 2 for 2012...

Image

#1 – Egyptian gosling [12] . Generally speaking, one of the easier juveniles to ID… That is IF you don’t get drawn into SA shelduck’s baby pix! They are near impossible to distinguish from Egyptian geese… Otherwise Google should have helped you onto the right track.

Image

#2 – Red Phalarope [14] . No problems here… If you found the likeness in the section for phalaropes, you found the right ID.

Image


#3 – Juvenile Gabar Goshawk [15] . No trouble here although most ‘mites had to consult their resources to get to an answer. MattAxel wrote: Told from other juvenile Accipiters by the combination of its rufous colouring with streaked breast and barred belly, orange legs and cere and white tipped wings.

Image


#4 – Great Reed Warbler [9] . Not so difficult, but the setting of a bird in the hand is alien to many ‘mites and makes this into a “curve ball”. shadowdog points out: SASOL shows short supercilium, heavy bill, large size (compared to the hand holding it), pale greyish-brown legs.

Image

#5 – Grey wagtail [16] . Another walkover, in spite of most also having to carefully consult resources… MattAxel wrote: There are only 3 Wagtails that have yellow on their underparts in the region. Citrine Wagtail is a very rare vagrant and would have a yellow face and no yellow vent. Yellow Wagtail has more olive green, not grey, upperparts, which means this must be a Grey Wagtail.

Image

#6 – African Fish Eagle (Juvenile) [14] . Another one with few difficulties. There really is no reason not to have found the correct ID if you consulted one of the field guides… they all have adequate illustrations of juvie AFEs

Image

#7 – Male Klaas’s cuckoo [13] posed very little problems in spite of the weird red appearance; although many ‘mites got it as female or juvenile (you are forgiven… have not been penalized!) The photograph was taken in the light of a setting sun… that coppery colour was heightened the reflective properties of the bird’s feathers.

Image

#8 – Golden weaver, [3] . The toughest one of the lot. Matorashanga wrote: A large weaver with a large bill, generally yellow in appearance and in this case quite streaked on the back so probably a female. Males are generally more yellow overall. The eyes also tend to be greyer than in other weavers. The insect in the beak suggests this bird is feeding chicks (therefore in breeding colours); all other weavers at breeding stage show some markings / coloration that allows you to eliminate it. Habitat also helps to eliminate a few…

Read more about:

1. Egyptian Goose
2. Red Phalarope unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
3. Gabar Goshawk
4. Great Reed Warbler
5. Grey Wagtail
6. African Fish Eagle
7. Klaas's Cuckoo
8. Golden Weaver unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:38 pm 
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PNF wrote:
JenB wrote:
Johan works? :shock:
Birders don't work? :twisted:



:funny:


Yeah, right! :evil:

In a year or so I'll also be able to call myself a real birder... But for now I owe therefor to work I go! :lol:

Wow! So we got the record! :clap: :clap: :clap: The new total is now 23 participants in a bird ID challenge!

This challenge was the “easiest” yet with an average 76%-score.
The results were as follows:
2 ‘mites scored 3
one scored 4
one scored 5
9 ‘mites scored 6
9 ‘mites scored 7
and one got all IDs correct.
So, here are the results for challenge No 3 for 2012...

Image

#1 – Wire-tailed Swallow [22] MattAxel wrote: The only Swallow with an orange cap and dark face. Only one ‘mite fluffed this one… on “research” nogal…

Image

#2 – Green-backed Heron [13] Elsa wrote: I battled a bit, but eventually found it mentioned (in a guide book) that they have a brief time when they have the red behind the bill and the pinkish legs (deep-in-the-cycle breeding colours)

Image

#3 – Dark-capped Yellow Warbler [10] This was the second most difficult bird to ID. MattAxel says: Differentiated from Yellow-throated Woodland Warbler by lacking the brown cap and yellow supercillium. Underparts are too yellow to consider Willow or Icterine Warbler. Some ‘mites got yellow-bellied greenbul as the answer… Size in the hand should have disqualified the greenbul.

Image

#4 – Natal francolin [21] . From this close-up I expected more missed IDs. Surprisingly few ‘mites got this one confused with a Cape francolin. In a close-up shot the Cape francolin would be darker, less patterned and with some black in its bill.

Image

#5 – White-backed Vulture [21] . This was another bird where I was pleasantly surprised by number of correct IDs. The only other option chosen was (juvenile) Cape vulture. I also learned something here. Adrianp suggested in his answer that he found the correct ID after being told (at a rehabilitation centre for raptors) that the : Cape (vulture) has blue eye makeup. I engaged Adrian in subsequent emails about this and he sent some examples and an explanation that made me better understand this same reference one gets in some guide books. The point I trying to convey here is that the blue wash to the face is often not so easy to seen in CVs, but when it can be observed, that bird is a Cape for sure. The reverse worked for adrianp… but beware a future vulture challenge picture! I’ll certainly test the theory…

For more Cape vs WBV features, see this thread.

Image

#6 – Juvenile Black-browed Albatross [10]. Equally as difficult as the warbler, many people found hardship here. Pelagic birds have many colour variations is their feather cover one has to contend with. The trick with IDing albatrosses from a portrait is in carefully examining the bird’s bill. Not so much variation is going on there. In addition, the (commoner) ones that frequent our coastline can virtually be IDed by bill characteristics alone if the photograph depicts enough detail. It certainly is the case with this particular albatross species: the bill of the juvenile BBA is horn-coloured with a black tip. Once you have made your pick based on what is going on around the bill, you can use the other features suggested in your reference to confirm your selected ID.

Image

#7 – Red-winged starling, female [19] . Interestingly the few incorrect IDs were mostly some type of crow… And it all had to do with showing just the head of a bird. It also teaches us how important bill shapes are and how much attention that ID feature deserves! A few ‘mites mentioned the fact that these starlings and roofs are synonymous! (In this case a thatched roof!)

Image

#8 – Kurrichane Thrush [22] . Also a big surprise to me was the ease with which this bird was dealt with. WELL DONE ‘mites! :clap: Even though the characteristic malar lines where obscured, the orange bill, orange eyerings and the typical nest was way more than you needed...

I certainly will have to up the game as you are becoming very proficient at this skill…

Hope the suspense in having to wait for this result didn’t harm anyone! :wink:

Read more about:

1. Wire-tailed Swallow
2. Green-backed Heron
3. Dark-capped Yellow Warbler
4. Natal Spurfowl (Francolin)
5. White-backed Vulture
6. Black-browed Albatros
7. Red-winged Starling
8. Kurrichane Thrush

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:16 am 
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We are back on 18 participants for the bird ID challenge!

This challenge was the “easiest” yet with an average 82%-score. You guys and gals are doing exceptionally well! It has now become hard work to set a challenge that is worthy of your burgeoning skills!

The results were as follows:
one ‘mite scored 5
one scored 7
one scored 8
one scored 9
8 ‘mites scored 10
3 ‘mites scored 11
and 3 got all IDs correct.
So, here are the results for challenge No 4 for 2012...

Image

#1 – Subantarctic Skua [18] Although NOBODY got this one wrong, most seem to have battled a bit, having to consult sections of the guide books they had never been to before… Like adrianp wrote: I ran out of Petrel before realizing I was Skua’d! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Image

#2 –Juvenile Retz's Helmet-Shrike [8] . This was by far the toughest bird to ID. First you had to know that it is a helmet-shrike: the feather pattern around the face should have given you that idea. Overall grey-brown colour combined with the white vent and under tail as well as pinkish legs.

Many thanks to Johann du Preez for permission to use the picture.


Image

#3 – Namaqua Sandgrouse [14] caused little trouble and most ‘mites dealt weel with this ID. pantera leo wrote: In all the photo's that I've studied of Double-banded the female shows a clear yellow eye-ring. No clearly defined eyebrow or dark lores eliminates Yellow-throated Sandgrouse. Facial markings of Burchell's Sandgrouse is also much more distinct and yellow, the markings on the back is whitish on a greyish-brown

Image

#4 – Spotted Flycatcher [17] No troubles here

Image

#5 – Thick-billed lark [14] also caused amazingly few headaches. Mutorashanga explains: The streaky breast and large bill led me to the Namibian variant of the Sabota lark, but the extent of the streaking on the breast pointed to the Thick-billed Lark. The pale underside to the bill is also a key marker. The bird is also very boldly marked; individuals are probably quite variable.

Image

#6 – Juvenile Gorgeous Bush-shrike [16] Few ‘mites unexpectedly bit the dust. pantera leo explains which features helped him: The olive green colour with an orange-red throat and faint black gorget (collar) and yellowish lores.

Image

#7 – Freckled Nightjar [14] . Again you ‘mites amazed me with your insight. Mutorashanga explains which features helped him: An overall speckled grey nightjar, with the distinctive 4-5 white spots on the upper wing. Buff colouring to the outer primary coverts, and overall brown-grey primaries. The general appearance is darker than the European nightjar which is also a grey nightjar.


Image

This last picture contained five birds of which two are new to this series of challenges.

#8a – Grey Plover [18] . No troubles here…

#8b – Bar-tailed Godwit [15] . Mutorashanga describes the bird as follows: This is a tall slender wader with a distinctive upturned bill with a flesh coloured base, a pronounced white eyebrow and black legs. The chest is finely streaked pale brown, while the back and wings are a pale brown with most feathers having a paler margin to them.

#8c – Ruddy Turnstone [16] was the only other “new” bird. It is unique and cannot be mistaken for anything else with its bold black and white markings on the upper chest and head and ruddy (that is where the name is derived…) brown and black back and short orange legs.

The last two have both appeared in a previous challenge.

#8d – Red knot [14]

#8e – Curlew Sandpiper [13]

I have to applaud your efforts... How now to continue? :big_eyes:

I'll tink a bit... I'm sure to come up with something worth your while... :twisted:

Read more about:

1. Sub-Antarctic Skua
2. Retz's Helmet-Shrike
3. Namaqua Sandgrouse
4. Spotted Flycatcher
5. (Thick) Large-billed Lark
6. Gorgeous Bush-Shrike
7. Freckled Nightjar
8(a). Grey Plover
8(b). Bar-tailed Godwit unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
8(c). Ruddy Turnstone
8(d). Red Knot unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
8(e). Curlew Sandpiper

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2012 9:16 am 
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Thank you 'mites, for waiting patiently while I went atlassing the Mpongolo wilderness in Kruger NP.

The challenge I posted before leaving turned out to be the easiest ever. At 85% this challenge was decimated by you!

The results are as follows:
one ‘mite scored 4
three scored 5
five scored 6
ten scored 7
and again 5 (highest number two weeks running!!) got all IDs correct.

So, here are the results for challenge No 6 for 2012...

Again I received 24 answers... :clap:

Image

#1 – Mountain Wheatear [23] . No trouble here.

Image

#2 – Northern Shoveller [24] . Nobody got caught with this vagrant.

Image

#3 – Diederik Cuckoo [18] . The only confusion here was with Klaas’s cuckoo. Both sexes of Diederik differs from Klaas’s by having more extensive white marks around the eye and on the wings.

Image

#4 – White-backed mousebird [23] ; again not much of an issue

Image

#5 – Black-backed Puffback [24] I honestly thought the close-up of this bird would pose more problems. In the end it became the second bird that got nailed by all the ‘mites!

Image

#6 – Brown scrub-robin [14] provided some degree of difficulty to the challenge. pantera leo wrote: Brown Scrub-Robin is the only grey-brown Robin with a broken wingbar.

Image

#7 – African Dusky Flycatcher [10] turned out to be the toughest bird of the challenge. Flycatchers have whiskers that you do not see in chats. The eye-ring and solid (unstreaked) colours are the ADFC’s trademarks

Image

#8 – Olive bush-shrike [23] presented no challenge to you.

I knew before posting that you guys and gals would find this challenge very easy, but I had no idea HOW easy!

Read more about:

1. Mountain Wheatear
2. Northern Shoveler unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
3. Diderick Cuckoo
4. White-backed Mousebird
5. Black-backed Puffback
6. Brown Scrub-Robin unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
7. African Dusky Flycatcher
8. Olive Bush-Shrike

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:37 pm 
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Thanks to all the brave souls for all your entries. 11 people entered, with the highest score being 9/11. I think this has been one of the hardest quizzes so far, as each and every picture was a challenge. If it is any consolation, some of these are birds are ones that I have battled with for a while before getting onto the correct ID. Also for many of them, seeing them in their natural environment makes it much easier. For those of you who got #5 right, I think you would do well as pathologists in a good lab somewhere.
Image
1. Yellow bellied greenbul: Mutorashanga said: One of the yellow coloured bulbuls. With a white eye ring, reddish eyes and the yellow chest points to the above species. I think everybody got this one right.
Image
2. Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk: (Juvenile) Overall paler appearance than dark chanting. Most of you got it as a juvenile goshawk, but incorrectly guessed either gabar or DCG.

Image
3. Red-billed Quelea. Breeding female. Overall dumpy appearance and large robust bill should direct you to the quelea group. I think we have seen similar in the bird ID section before.

Image
4. Long-tailed Widowbird (female): The seed eater bill should steer you in the direction of widows, weavers etc. The body shape with a longer tail should direct you to the widows. Mutorashanga said Female, streaking below eliminates Red-collared Widowbird. Fan-tailed Widowbird and White-winged Widowbird are eliminated due to no markings on the wing.
Image
5. Cape Sparrow (male, doing head scratching gymnastics): Black seed eater bill, chestnut rump, brown vent, white wing bar. I had no idea this one would cause so many problems. Guesses included a feather duster, and some even considered Egyptian goose and fish eagle. Many of you at least got to the group as sparrows. (Johan encouraged me to post this one).
Image
6. African Pipit: I posted this one as it was an interesting colour variant of African Pipit. It was photographed at Oranjemond on the West Coast. Hence it is more pale in appearance than the Afican pipits we are used to on the Highveld where many of us bird. I think all of you nailed it as a pipit, with some guessing mountain pipit or long billed. (It is very hard to separate long billed from African from a photograph without know habitat and behaviour)
Image
7. Collared Pratincole (Red-winged Pratincole) . I think everybody got this one as either black or red winged pratincole. I suggested to Johan that it was a little unfair if you can’t see the underwing which is diagnostic, but he seemed to think it “a good challenge :twisted: ”. If you have really keen eyes, you will notice that the bird in the centre with a dropped wing is displaying the rufus colour of a red winged pratincol. Some people mentioned that they were in a group which would imply black winged. Red winged tend to fly on their own over water, in the vicinity of other birds, whereas black winged fly in flocks over agricultural lands etc, often in massive flocks. These guys were just sitting around, waiting to fly off on their own.

Image
8. White-winged Widowbird: Non-breeding male, yellow eyebrow and shoulder patch combined with the white wing-bar. Some battled with this one, others nailed it with ease. I think it depends on the field experience you have with this bird.
Image
9. Black Kite-juvenile Tilandi said: Juvenile has a brown not grey head, bill is black with a yellow cere. Have pale edges to the feathers. Tail is less forked than the Yellow-billed Kite. (other answers included marsh harrier)

Image
10. Slaty Egret and Great Egret. Everybody got this as either black heron or slaty egret. The key diagnostic here are the yellow legs. Black heron has black legs with yellow feet. Once you have the Slaty ID, great egret is easy based on size. Without the slaty in the picture for scale, yellow billed egret could come into the picture to confuse us.

Read more about:

1. Yellow-bellied Greenbul
2. Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk
3. Red-billed Quelea
4. Long-tailed Widowbird
5. Cape Sparrow
6. African Pipit
7. Collared Pratincole
8. White-winged Widowbird
9. Black Kite unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
10. Slaty Egret and Great Egret


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:48 am 
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#8 was again relatively easy and returned an average score of 78%. Participation numbers are down a bit and many of the regulars have not posted. In particular I missed pantera leo, Nkumbe, anne-marie, Mutorashanga, Elsa and Dabchick. I thought I’ll mention this as there may be some technical hiccup somewhere…

The results are as follows:
one ‘mite scored 3
four scored 5
one scored 6
nine scored 7
and one got all IDs correct.
So, here are the results for challenge #8 for 2012...

I’m going to do something different with this result feedback: I’m going to "rate" guides in respect of their usefulness in helping to ID the challenge bird. It will help ‘mites to understand how much having a second or even a third reference word will be worth to them.

Image

#1 – Kittlitz plover chick [7] . Only the webz can help here. Not a single field guide I own has an illustration. You had to know it was a lapwing or plover, and then the elimination slog started…

Image

#2 – Ostrich chicks [17] . Sasol BoSA is the only guide with an illustration of an ostrich chick

Image

#3 – Black-crowned Night-Heron [13] . Oberpreller and Cilliers, Roberts, Sasol, Newman’s, Sinclair and Ryan, all have illustrations, but they differ in acuracy in the order I mention them, first being best.

Image

#4 – Fiscal Flycatcher, juvenile [16] . Sinclair and Ryan, Oberpreller and Cilliers, Newman’s. Newman's does not show the window in the wing.

Image

#5 – Mountain Wheatear [16] . In my opinion you guys and gals did extremely well with the resources as none have an illustration of this specific colour variation.

Image

#6 – Red-knobbed Coot [9] . Newman’s is the only guide with an adequate (not good) illustration. The Sinclair and Ryan photographic guide comes close to giving an adequate representation of a nestling (it’s pic being of a slightly older chick). SASOL’s effort is of a much older chick. These birds change appearance drastically over a few weeks, therefor, to my thinking, the guides should depict both a nestling and a fledgling chick. Again your best bet would have been surfing…

Image

#7 – Magpie Shrike [14] . All the guides have adequate info for this ID. Sneaky editing cut off the tails…

Image[/quote]

#8 – Yellow-billed Duck [15] . All guides have adequate info for this ID. Although the adult bird’s head is submerged, the heavily scalloped appearance is unique. The duckling is already starting to show the bill colouration of a yellow-billed duck.

Read more about:

1. Kittlitz's Plover
2. Common Ostrich
3. Black-crowned Night-Heron
4. Fiscal Flycatcher
5. Mountain Wheatear
6. Red-knobbed Coot
7. Magpie Shrike
8. Yellow-billed Duck

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 12:28 pm 
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They say #9 was a stinker! It returned an average score of 55%, the lowest average so far. Participation numbers are down a bit and many of the regulars have not posted. In particular I missed JenB, pantera leo, Nkumbe, Ngululu, PeterPM, MattAxel and Elsa. Some of the recent participants also disappeared: Okie, barryels, sterblanc and sky. I thought I’ll mention this as there may be some technical hiccup somewhere… Or maybe they need a reminder? :twisted:

The results are as follows:
one ‘mite scored 1
three scored 2
one scored 3
five got 4
three scored 5
one scored 6
one scored 7
and two got all IDs correct.
So, here are the results for challenge No 9 for 2012...

Image

#1 – African Dusky Flycatcher [12] . mel123 wrote: It's not a Spotted or Marico. That leaves Ashy, Pale and Dusky. Too brown for Ashy. I don't see noticeable white eye crescents, but then I almost never do. I might see black lores? Or maybe not. That leaves Dusky, but really, I'm starting to hate flycatchers... My Sasol and LBJ book are both almost useless to assist me. There is one Dusky pic in my photographic guide that gives a bit of hope that I might be right, but whatever... Just wondering if mel123 played the Lotto? The diffused streaking on breast combined with lack of streaking on the crown are the two features in combination that point to ADF.

Image

#2 – Neddicky [4] . All the features are there, but most ‘mites got it as one of the other long-tailed cisticolas. mel123 wrote: The combination of rufous cap and some greyish underparts. The tail looks longer than would be the case with a Singing cisticola. Coin toss. How long is that tail really?

Long enough! :wink:

Image

#3 – Juvenile African harrier hawk [10] . Like with a bateleur, the juvenile AHH only gets the facial skin colour turning yellow/pink when approaching adulthood. At this stage in its life, the facial skin is brown to olive-green. Bare legs, small head and dark brown plumage combined gets one to the right ID.

Image

#4 – Senegal lapwing [14] . The dark legs and white patch on forehead in front of eye, lack of red eyering are useful ID features.

Image

#5 – Yellow-breasted Pipit [4] . Although most ‘mites missed the correct ID, it is pleasing to see that the choices were mostly other pipits. A few missed the pipit family, thinking lark or longclaw. davejenny wrote: It was a close call between Yellow-breasted Pipit and a juvenile Cape Longclaw. Went for the pipit because of signs of yellow feathers and more streaking on the back and not such a dark head/crown.

The lack of a well-defined eyebrow and the dainty bill disqualifies the longclaw.

Image

#6 – African marsh harrier, juvenile [6] . granjan wrote: Typical in-fight shape of a harrier and with whitish breast band.

They fly mostly looking down, more so than any other bird of prey, giving the harriers a typical in-flight jizz. Surprisingly few ‘mites got this one right.

Image

#7 – Levaillant's Cisticola in an interesting moult stage [12] . mel123 wrote: Rufous panel on wing looks to extend to the first row of coverts, not 2/3 rows as with rufous-winged and Luapala cisticolas. Long tail, bold markings on black back. LbJ book a lot of help here.

Image

#8 – Ant-eating Chat, fem and juvenile. [14] . Not many issues here. It is the only entirely dark brown chat in our region.

Read more about:

1. African Dusky Flycatcher
2. Neddicky
3. African Harrier-Hawk
4. Senegal Lapwing
5. Yellow-breasted Pipit
6. African Marsh Harrier
7. Levaillant's Cisticola
8. Ant-eating Chat

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:33 pm 
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Eish! I cannot get consistency in the challenges! :wall: Then it is too tough, then too easy! #10 returned an average score of 84%, the second highest average score so far. Participation numbers are up from last week with two new ‘mites (Gryskopvisvanger and Jakkie Human) taking part. I still miss many of the regulars in particular I missed JenB, pantera leo, Nkumbe, Ngululu, PeterPM, MattAxel and Elsa. Some of the recent participants also disappeared: Okie and sterblanc. I thought I’ll mention this as there may be some technical hiccup somewhere… Or maybe they need a reminder?

The results are as follows:
Two ‘mites scored 7
one scored 8
three scored 9
two scored 10
11 scored 11
and one got all IDs correct.

I have never told on any 'mite if they don't choose to make their participation (or score) known. So, unless that 'mite chooses to tell him- / herself, the 12/12 person remains anonymous.

So, here are the results for challenge # 10 for 2012...

Image

#1 – Coqui francolin, female [17] . adrianp wrote: Black and white barring on the breast is diagnositc

Image

#2a – Dark-capped Bulbul [19] . The pollen mask fooled no-one!
#2b – Southern grey-headed sparrow [15] . Plain grey head, browner upperparts and rufous wing making a distinct line with the grey underparts helped 15 ‘mites to get this ID right.

Image
Large view

#3a – White-necked Raven [15] . All the crows are the same species. ladybirder says the ID features for her were: White collar on back of neck. Heavy bill with a white tip.
#3b – Cape vultures [18] . I expected to get many wrong answers here… Hmmm… just fooled myself; the ‘mites are getting way too smart!
#3c – White-backed vultures [18] . No troubles here either.

Image

#4 – Leucistic cape turtle dove [18] . Surprisingly few ‘mites got this one wrong.

Image

#5 – Caspian tern chick [15] . With only five ‘mites registering this as a UFO (Unidentified Fluffy Object), apologies to Dabchick for the plagiarism… I was pleasantly surprised. I guess the egg and nest constituted just too many clues to make this a tough one…

The next three birds in the series were ID’d by everyone, the first time ever this has happened.

Image

#6 – African Pied Wagtail [20] .

Image

#7 – Cape Robin-Chat [20] .

Image

#8a – Yellow-billed Egret [20] .

#8b – Great egret [5] tested most ‘mites. Although many got it wrong, for them it was a toss-up between two. Remember size counts! As a result of what appears to be a plume coming off the back of the head (actually an inconveniently place reed stem :doh: ), most ‘mites got pulled in to calling this bird a little egtret. Initially I excluded it from the challenge because I thought it was just too out of focus to be fair… then adrianp convinced me otherwise… Blame him! :twisted:

Jokes aside, another feature is the robust neck (much thicker than that of a little egret’s) with that ubiquitous kink in it.

Read more about:

1. Coqui Francolin
2. Dark-capped Bulbul and Southern Grey-headed Sparrow
3. White-necked Raven, Cape Vulture and White-backed Vultures
4. Cape Turtle Dove
5. Caspian Tern
6. African Pied Wagtail
7. Cape Robin-Chat
8. Yellow-billed Egret and Great Egret

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:36 am 
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Please, 'mites, don't delay too much with your answers for 2012 #11... It is the last one that I will be doing for a bit as I will be out of the reach of the webz for around three weeks. I will be posting the answers to this challenge before leaving for the next atlassing event in KNP's Mpongolo Wilderness. Afterward I will be spoiling myself birding in some remoter parts of South Africa where I have not been before... Hopefully I'll run into some (lots of) good photo opportunities to refresh my stock of challenges a bit...

BUT!!!

Don't dispair! I have arranged for the challenges to continue. Lizet will do the next two. I have not yet confirmed who will be doing the third one prior to my return, but rest assured, I will get another challenger to your skills! :thumbs_up:

The challenges continues! Please, 'mites, support the people who will be giving up hours of their very valuable time to set these challenges up for your enjoyment / benefit.

:rtm: BTW: I get a feedback note afterward and knows exactly who the fair-weather friends are... :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:05 am 
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So, eventually the results can be published. My appologies for the long wait!

#11 of 2012 returned an average score of 75%.

I still miss many of the regulars. When I get back from my birding trip I’ll get stuck into rekindling flagging interest… Let us see if we cannot get all the old hands back to participate again. In the meantime, you guys and gals must support the challenges posed by Lizet and Etienne during the next three weeks…

The results are as follows:
One ‘mites scored 4
one scored 6
two scored 7
seven scored 8
seven scored 9
1 scored 10
and one got all IDs correct.

So, here are the answers for challenge #11 for 2012...

Image
Large view

#1a – Southern red bishop, male in transitional colours [18] . This bird caused very little trouble…

#1b – Cuckoofinch [18] . Yellow bird with black bill and eyes… Unique. Once you have seen one, you’ll never miss it again.

Image

#2 – Pearl-breasted swallow [19] . No issues here.

Image

#3 – Plain-backed Pipit [6] . The yellow base of bill and unstreaked back. Buffy pipit would have a pink base to the bill. African Rock pipit has an upright stance, and at this distance will show yellow shoulder patch and yellow edges on flight feathers. It also has a shorter tail than the Plain-backed pipit.

Image

#4 – Yellow-throated Petronia [2] . This bird proved very tough indeed. mel123 wrote: The tail is too long for a female red-billed quelea, as well as for the female long-tailed widowbird. I also considered a streaky-headed seedeater but the head doesn't seem finely streaked. So, onto a little bird I never really looked at before. The eyebrow and tail length fits well. Lark-like Bunting is excluded because of the challenge bird’s plain crown, prominent (more so than for LLB) eyebrow, lack of rufous borders to back and tail feathers and a much more boldly marked back. Likewise, female house-sparrow is excluded because of its lighter grey cheek as well as the marking on the back and tail as explained for the exclusion of LLB.

Image

#5 – Red-winged Francolin [20] . Everyone got this ID right.

Image

#6 – Lesser Kestrel [20] . Everyone got this ID right as well.

Image

#7 – Familiar chat [18] . Not much to be said here as most of you nailed the ID.

Image

#8 – Striped Kingfisher [20] . Too easy!

Image

#9 – Dusky Indigobird [5] . ‘mites found this a tough bird to ID. Some battled with the fact that there was too little to give a feel for the size of the bird and subsequently a few raptors and a widowbird were suggested. This bird was photographed near the Limpopo River. Classic dusky is white bill, pink legs. The bill and legs of this bird are both pale-pink, typical of the race found near the Limpopo River as opposed to the norm found at other venues. Village indigobirds have more deeply coloured pink legs and bill. Purple indigobirds have white bill, white legs with some variation in some races. Actually, the song of the bird is really the most reliable way of making the correct ID. So, I guess this challenge bird serves to show how difficult an ID can be if done from a picture alone.

Image

#10 – Blue-cheecked bee-eater. [18] . Very little issues here.

Read more about:

1. Southern Red Bishop and Cuckoo Finch
2. Pearl-breasted Swallow
3. Plain-backed Pipit
4. Yellow-throated Petronia
5. Red-winged Francolin
6. Lesser Kestrel
7. Familiar Chat
8. Striped Kingfisher
9. Dusky Indigobird
10. Blue-cheeked Bee-eater

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:50 am 
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Can anyone tell me why 10 is blue-cheeked bee-eater and not Madagascan (Olive) bee-eater? I thought the blue-cheeked should have blue "eye-shadow" above and below the eye, not just above as here (which would be the Olive bee-eater). I interpreted the not quite brownish crown as a young bird in intermediate plumage between juvenile and adult -- a decision which I thought was supported by the relatively short "streamers" in the tail, which in an adult bird would extend much farther...

Just wondering.... :redface:


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:21 am 
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Elsa wrote:
@ Dabchick, I put the Blue-cheeked down as a juv owing to the smaller tail streamers but do see where you are coming from. My books say the main difference is in the colour of the crowns but then the feathers can be worn by late Summer and the blue facial feathers can appear white. I guess the location of the bird can also be a big decider.


Thanx Elsa! :thumbs_up: , I'm still not convinced it's a blue-cheeked, and would have liked to have had some indication about where the photo was taken before making the ID, but I'll not argue with the majority. If 18 out of 20 people say it is blue-cheeked, I'll keep my mouth shut...(but I will not necessarily agree with them :wink: ) :gflower:


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:56 am 
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Dabchick wrote:
Can anyone tell me why 10 is blue-cheeked bee-eater and not Madagascan (Olive) bee-eater? I thought the blue-cheeked should have blue "eye-shadow" above and below the eye, not just above as here (which would be the Olive bee-eater). I interpreted the not quite brownish crown as a young bird in intermediate plumage between juvenile and adult -- a decision which I thought was supported by the relatively short "streamers" in the tail, which in an adult bird would extend much farther...

Just wondering.... :redface:


Dabchick, I didn't really look at the streamers. For me the green colour of the crown was the deciding factor.


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