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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:04 pm 
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This is the results of challenge #16 of 2012. The theme was close-ups. Quite amazing to see a bird in your hand; one immediately start to notice detail you never see in pix of book illustrations! This challenge returned an average score of only 74.6%, more like the level of difficulty you guys are used to.

The results are as follows:
We had 18 ‘mites participating.
Two ‘mites scored 4
four scored 5
six scored 6
five scored 7
only one got all IDs correct.

Image

#1 – Southern Black Flycatcher [9] . Ladybirder wrote: I have seen that some of these do have a white wash on the shoulder and chest, while the Southern Black Tit's more prominent white. The bill is that of a flycatcher.

Image

#2 – Yellow-bellied greenbul [17] . Didn’t cause any problems although getting a feel for size may have been difficult.

Image

#3 – Bennett's Woodpecker, female [17] . No problems here.

Image

#4 – Livingstone's Turaco [17] . Although most ‘mites got this one right, quite a few were surprised when they saw three options in the ID resources. davejenny wrote: Having seen Schalow's Turaco in Kenya ruled it out as their crest is so much longer. Roberts states that Livingstone's Turaco is very similar to Knysna Lourie, but with crest tall and pointed.

Image

#5 – Southern grey-headed sparrow. Actually only [5] ‘mites got this one right, I gave all who chose a grey-headed sparrow a mark. [11] . I have looked at many different resources and, as I personally have not yet seen this bird, I could not find any resource that gave definitive ID features that can be used for a head shot only. Some resources do suggest that the Northern GHS supposedly has a heavier bill, but I cannot see much of a difference. However, other species like juvenile whydas, magpies, waxbills and mousebirds can certainly be eliminated for the bill on the challenge bird lacks any features of a young bird; no gape and shows lots of wear and tear.

Image

#6 – Southern Masked-weaver [16] . Only confusion can be with Village weaver. I wanted to show the difference in the front on the crown. Mutorashanga sums that feature up nicely: The black mask extends onto the crown, low around the forehead, and at the base where the yellow feathers join the black mask, the feathers are orange-red. These features are missing from the Village.

Image

#7 – Common Fiscal Shrike, juvenile [6] . Lesser Grey Shrike has darker brown with more pronounced barring (not so fine as in Common fiscal); red-backed shrike juveniles are reddish-brown very early on.

Image

#8 – Red-throated Wryneck [14] . If you have never seen a wryneck up close, some of these features will be alien to fit into the illustrations one finds in the guidebooks. That eye REALLY is orange-brown, same colour as the throat!

Read more about:

1. Southern Black Flycatcher
2. Yellow-bellied Greenbul
3. Bennett's Woodpecker
4. Livingstone's Turaco
5. Southern Grey-headed Sparrow
6. Southern Masked-Weaver
7. Common Fiscal Shrike unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
8. Red-throated Wryneck

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 5:50 pm 
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This is the results of challenge #17 of 2012. This challenge was the “easiest" ever and returned an average score of 86.4%

The results are as follows:
We had 17 ‘mites participating.
One ‘mite scored 5
four scored 7
eight scored 8
four got all IDs correct.

Image

#1 – Brubru [17] . No problems here.

Image

#2 – Dark-capped bulbul [15] . Only two ‘mites got snookered by the pollen face mask…

Image

#3 – Common house martin [4] . By far the toughest challenge bird – thanks to Johann du Preez for permission to use it. The wing structure is wrong for a swift, leaving martins and swallows to choose from. The all-dark underwing rules out the swallows, except for grey-rumped. The fork in the tail is much too shallow for GR swallow and with a shot from below its black feet will show up well. That really leaves sand martin and common house martin as the only two martins with a V-notch in the tail. Again, the sand martin’s black feet will show better, and the band across the throat widens into the shoulder, not so for our bird. It is a young common house martin, at this age it shows more brown than blue on top. At all ages the house martin's feet are covered in white feathers.

Image

#4 – Karoo Scrub-robin [16] . No trouble here…

Image

#5 – White-crowned Lapwing [16] . Same here

Image

#6 – Racket-Tailed Roller [17] . Everyone got this and the next bird right

Image

#7 – Three-Banded Courser [17] .

Image

#8 – Blacksmith lapwing chick. [11] got the fluffy right. Roan remarked: The background where the photograph was taken seems to be a lawn. This is a crucial clue… davejenny recons Roberts’ description helped him onto the right ID, but says: “Beat About The Bush – Birds” , has a photograph of Blacksmith Lapwing chicks on page 237 which clinched it for me.

Image

#9 – Black-headed Oriole [17] fooled no-one…

Read more about:

1. Brubru
2. Dark-capped Bulbul
3. Common House-Martin
4. Karoo Scrub-Robin
5. White-crowned Lapwing
6. Racket-tailed Roller
7. Three-banded Courser
8. Blacksmith Lapwing
9. Black-headed Oriole

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 7:55 am 
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I am not sure how to take 'mites' reaction to the previous challenge where a twist in the tail provided some extra incentive to dig for information in parts of books where 'mites never go... The reaction varied from high praise to silent treatment that ignored the extra questions... So, what to do? I have already set the next challenge (#19) to again include another stinger at the end... Should I take it out, or should I post as is and see what you guys and gals make of it?

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 8:02 am 
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Hey there Johan - bring it on...... :thumbs_up: My feeling is that this is a great way of expanding one's general knowledge and ability. I "fluffed" up #18 by just getting 10/12 compared to so many that got it all right.....but I am all for learning from one's mistakes. So, please keep the stingers coming.....

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 8:12 am 
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Johan van Rensburg wrote:
... I have already set the next challenge (#19) to again include another stinger at the end... Should I take it out, or should I post as is and see what you guys and gals make of it ?
I'm ready :thumbs_up:
but in French (from books in French) you have something :lol: :lol: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 9:45 am 
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This is the results of challenge #20 of 2012. The ID part of the challenge was tougher than the sting! However, from the PMs I received it was patently obvious that most ‘mites enjoyed reading up about the sting-birds… Overall the challenge returned an average score of 77%

We had 21 ‘mites taking part.

The results are as follows:
One ‘mite each score 4 and 5;
Two ‘mites scored 6;
four ‘mites scored 7;
five ‘mites scored 8;
six scored 9;
and two ‘mites got all the answers right.

Thanks again to those 'mites who so diligently add explanatory notes with their IDs. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Image

#1 – Streaky-headed seedeater [16] had no real issues.The bill, eyebrow and the streaked crown are all pronounced and taken in combination points to the right ID.

Image

#2 – Dickinson's kestrel [11] pantera leo points out the salient features: Overall grey colour combined with a paler head and heavily barred tail and underwing.

Image

#3 – White-fronted plover [18] No issues here…

Image

#4 – Horus swift [15] . Common and Bradfield’s swifts were alternative suggested IDs, both of whom should be ruled out on the evidence of a white rump (a smidgen of which is visible in the picture); as well as on the contrast between under-wing and body; the common swift should be near all-black and the Bradfiel’s swift uniformly lighter, but with contrast with the darker primaries and tail.

Image

#5 – White-starred robin (juvenile) [8] Although this looks like mission impossible, once you see an image of the immature bird, the penny drops! The out-sized eye is an indication of the habitat where this bird spends its life… in the darkest forests! A very difficult subject to photograph...

Image

#6 – Curlew sandpiper [16] mel123 noticed that the bird is in breeding colours which is why there is no white rump, as a lot of photos show, the lack of which was bothering me a lot. Downcurved bill, white stripe on the wings, black legs helped to nail the ID down.

Bonus points:

Q#1 – African harrier-hawk [21] No trouble here. barryels writes about the peculiar traits of this genus are the double-jointed legs and the small feet allowing the bird to extract its prey from nests, holes or crevices, as well in trees as rocks or banks. It eats birds and eggs, bats, small mammals, lizards and various insects. It also hunts by slow, low flying pursuit over the ground or the vegetation.

Q#2 – Kori Bustard [21]
adrianp writes that the male Kori bustard weighs in at 12.5kg (female is half that). Then great white pelican 9.5kg and wandering albatross (8.3kg), cape vulture (8kg) comes close.. hilda found more info that makes the Kori Bustard the heaviest bird capable of flight in the world. Exceptional birds may weigh over 20 kg (44 lb).

Q#3 – Arctic tern flies off as the champion long-distance migratory bird. [16] . See this article

Sooty shearwater is a serious contender. In 2006 it became the holder of the long-distance title after scientists put satellite tags on 19 sooty shearwaters as part of a Pacific Pelagics Project. The Sooty Shearwater travelled 64,000km in the 8-month monitoring period.

Artic terns are tiny birds by comparison. At just over 100g, fitting them with tracking devices was a tough challenge. The development of a 1.4g “geolocator” that could be attached to the animals allowed scientists to find out exactly where they went on their polar round trip by fitting 70 terns with these devices in July 2007. The devices record light intensity. This gives an estimate of the local day length, and the times of sunrise and sunset; and from this information it is possible to work out a geographical position of the birds. A year later the retrieval of 11 of the geolocators resulted in scientists being able to plot a figure-8 route taken to utilize the prevailing winds as the tern flies more than 71,000km from pole to pole each year, with some individuals flying in excess of 80,000 km annually, twice as far as previously thought, thus the title of migratory flight champions reverted to the tern just one year after the sooty shearwater was so crowned.

On average an Arctic tern gets to be around 34 years old. By extrapolation, this means that they fly distances equivalent to three trips to the moon and back in their lifetimes!

Other notable long-distance flyers include Wandering albatrosses and bar-tailed godwits.

Q#4 – Caspian tern is the largest tern in Southern Africa [21]

tilandi sent me the following link on the longest migratory flight:

Birds That Migrate the Longest Distance

Also some interesting tidbits on the Bar-tailed Godwit’s prowess:

The longest non-stop flight – Bar-tailed Godwit 10 200km 9 days
It's the longest nonstop bird migration ever measured, according to biologists who tracked the flight using satellite tags. The bird, a wader called a bar-tailed godwit, completed the journey in nine days.
In addition to demonstrating the bird's surprising endurance, the trek confirms that godwits make the southbound trip of their annual migration directly across the vast Pacific rather than along the East Asian coast, scientists said.


Read more about:

1. Streaky-headed Seedeater
2. Kori Bustard
3. White-fronted Plover
4. Horus Swift
5. White-starred Robin unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
6. Curlew Sandpiper

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 3:15 pm 
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This is the results of challenge #21 of 2012. Too easy! Overall the challenge returned an average score of 86.5%

We had 20 ‘mites taking part.

The results are as follows:
Two ‘mites scored 6;
one ‘mites scored 7;
three ‘mites scored 8;
ten scored 9;
and four ‘mites got all the answers right.

Thanks again to those 'mites who so diligently add explanatory notes with their IDs. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Image

#1 – African paradise-flycatcher [18] . Not many ‘mites got caught here.

Image

#2 – Gabar Goshawk [16] pantera leo points out the salient features: Overall barred appearance combined with the red legs and cere. There's also a white trailing edge visible on the secondaries which is another good pointer for this species.

Image

#3a – Lesser Honeyguide [19] . Unfortunately if you didn’t get the honeyguide, you would obviously battle with the brood parasite questions. To me it was very pleasing to see so many ‘mites get this ID right.
#3b – Yellow-fronted Canary [19] . Not much trouble here…

Image

#4 – South African shelduck Male [19] . Everyone got this ID.

Image

#5 – Swee Waxbill female [18] . Another easy one.

Image

#6 – Spotted Eagle Owl (rufous form) [13] . This was the toughest ID challenge and again you guys and gals did very well in making a tough call. Mutorashanga says the supporting features were yellow eyes, plumage appearing to be grey rather than brown... The orange eyes of a Cape eagle-owl leans towards the red end of the scale while the rufous form spottie’s eyes are strictly speaking also orange, but on the yellow end of the scale. Although a tough feature to use here because of the limited view that can only just be detected; the under-wing pattern for a Capey is much lighter than for the spottie whose dark under-wing bars are much broader

Bonus points:

Q#1 – From the birds featured above, which is a brood parasite?

The honeyguide. [/b][/color] [19]

Q#2 – What is the survival tactic used by these birds to ensure their sole survival in a nest?
davejenny quotes from Beat About the Bush - Birds :The chicks of Honeyguides have specialised hooks on the end of their mandibles used to attack and kill the host siblings in the nest in which it has hatched

Some ‘mites also metioned that the honeyguide mother ensures her chick hatches first by internally incubating the egg for an extra day before laying it, so it has a head start in development compared to the host. This is, however, not the whole story, as she must observe the host to make sure that she does not lay her eggs in a nest with a clutch of eggs that are just about to hatch. The ability to move around for a whole day with an egg ready to be laid when the right conditions are found, that is the real advantage! [17]

Q#3 – Which of the featured birds maintain a crèche where the young from multiple broods (of different parents) are cared for by one or more adults?

Shelduck [13] hilda wrote : Within days of hatching, the young are led from the nest to 'nursery water' by both parents or sometimes by other adults. This distance can be a kilometre or two! In the nursery there are several young from other shelducks together under the care of one or more adults. The nursery group (or crèche) varies in size and age range (a normal size crèche is 20-40 individuals, but some groups of 100 have been recorded). Scientists believe the nursery supervisors are failed breeders or non-breeders.

Read more about:

1. African Paradise-Flycatcher
2. Gabar Goshawk
3. Lesser Honeyguide and Yellow-fronted Canary
4. South African Shelduck
5. Swee Waxbill
6. Spotted Eagle-Owl

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 Post subject: Answers to Bird ID Challenge #22 of 2012
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:44 am 
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First of all my apologies to those who could pick up the bird names from the photo titles through their browser. In future I will name the pictures, nandos, rainbow, and KFC.

There were 14 complete entries, and the average score for the challenge was 8.2/10

#1 African penguin juvenile - All got this right. No problems here.
Image
#2 Forest buzzard –12/14 got this right. Often difficult to separate from a darker forest buzzard from a pale steppe buzzard. Forest Buzzard plumage variable; above brown; below white, heavily streaked or blotched with drop-shaped dark brown markings on belly and breast, leaving broad white chest band; very similar to Steppe Buzzard, but generally whiter bellow.
Image
#3 Bar throated apalis - All got this right. No problems here. Despite me trying to find a picture with the bar hidden and the bird blinking to hide the obvious eye colour. :twisted:
Image
#4 Bateleur (juvenile) – 13/14 got this right. No surprises since this is one of the most common confusing species on the raptor ID section. Short tail and bare skin patches (green or blue) around the face are diagnostic. The presence of two juveniles of different ages hardly fooled anybody. The older bird dominating the younger.
Image
#5 Black headed heron-All got this right. No problems here. Black cheeks and black markings extending all the way down to the bill are diagnostic.
Image
#6 White-breasted Cormorant in breeding plumage – 10/14 got this right. I thought this was a great challenge pic, and kept quite a few of you guessing. There are no guides (that I can find) that illustrate the red marking on the cheek, but the better guides mention in the text that marine specimens often have a pink wash, and orange cheek colour during breeding. This is the only cormorant in SA that is equally at home in the sea and on land.
Image
# 7 Large billed lark- 10/14 overall. A previous challenge bird, but still a difficult one to ID. The large bill separates this from most other larks and pipits. The yellow base to the bill is diagnostic. What amazes me is that for some reason this species is easier to ID in the field than from pictures. The yellow marking on the mandible seems to stand out more in real life.
Image
#8 Yellow bishop (yellow rumped widow) non-breeding- 2/14 well done Dave and JvR for getting this one right. Most people were close, opting for either red or yellow crowned bishop. Diagnostic features –Red bishop is darker with more of chocolate brown streaking and a buff (not yellow) eyebrow that extends all the way around the back of the head to form a V. Can be separated from yellow crowned widow which has much darker ear covets.
Image
#9 I was astounded by how good you all are at egg identification. Most of you were spot on with crowned lapwing, but you all got points if you got the typical lapwing behaviour right. Dive bombing, faking an injured wing, and general decoy behaviour to lead you away from the eggs.
#10 The correct answer was “you sneaky B@#$%&d, a lapwing does not feed its young”. But I accepted all other variants of this.
“She takes them to Wimpy for a kiddies meal” got half a point, for being technically correct, but nutritionally negligent. :lol: :lol:

Glad Johan is back... this is a lot of work to put together.

Regards,

Peter

Read more about:

1. African Penguin
2. Forest Buzzard
3. Bar-throated Apalis
4. Bateleur
5. Black-headed Heron
6. White-breasted Cormorant
7. Large-billed Lark
8. Yellow Bishop


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:56 pm 
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The close-ups theme of challenge #23 of 2012 seems to have gone down well with everyone!
Returning an average score of 83.5% you ‘mites are now getting Minora-sharp!

I see some old hands are not showing up anymore… I hate losing participants although they may have legitimate reasons like anne-marie who has a language barrier to contend with!

Can you believe it! We have had 60 ‘mites in total participating at one time or another!

When I get back I’ll get a drive going to entice back the lost ‘mites!

The results are as follows:
We had 17 ‘mites taking part.
One ‘mite scored 6;
two ‘mites scored 7;
seven ‘mites scored 8;
four scored 9;
and three ‘mites got all the answers right.

Thanks again to those 'mites who so diligently add explanatory notes with their IDs. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Image

#1 – Diderick Cuckoo, juvenile [17] . No problems here

Image

#2 – Greater Kestrel [10] . Ladybirder points out the salient features: Buffy appearance, fine black streaks on head and neck , yellow cere and blue-black bill , pale round eye.

Image

#3 – Yellow-billed Kite [15] . No real issues here. It is the only raptor in our region with an all-yellow bill.

Image

#4 – Brown-hooded Kingfisher [17] . Nobody had difficulties with this bird.

Image

#5 – Sombre Greenbul [17] . Although every ‘mite got this one right many of you said that it was a difficult ID to make (especially if you do not know the bird). The “white” eye is a clincher.

Image

#6 – Black-backed Puffback [17] . It has featured in a couple of challenges now… It is time for it to go into the archives…

Image

#7 – Scaly-throated Honeyguide [15] . The two incorrect IDs were correct on the family.

Image

#8 – Pale flycatcher [4] . adrianp expanded on his ID: I considered two family groups, the chats (female stone and familiar chat) and the flycatchers. Female stone chat would have a more rufous belly (not buff), and familiar chat tends to have a less hunched disposition, less pronounced rictal bristles (stiff, hair-like modified contour feathers that occur in a row and project from each side of the corners of the mouth), and usually has an overall rufous wash. Of the flycatchers, I eliminated dusky and spotted on the basis of a lack of streaking on the head and breast and ashy, on the basis of overall colour (not grey) and lack of white around the eye. The flycatcher eye is quite round, where as the chat has a more teardrop shape. It’s quite hard to pin down some of those giss impressions!

Answers to the twists:

Q #1 – Humans can eat most of the food items that the birds in this week's challenge live on, without ill effect. One food item, however, holds zero nutritional value for humans, but will not harm you if eaten. Only one bird is capable of extracting value from this food item. What is the food item.

Beeswax [15] . hilda wrote: The main constituent of honeycomb is beeswax, which is considered to have no nutrients that can be utilized by people and therefore no caloric value. Eating lots of beeswax may not be good for your digestion as it can't be broken down in your intestines.

Q #2 – Which of the featured birds is a juvenile?
Except for one ‘mite you all had the cuckoo.

Read more about:

1. Diderick Cuckoo
2. Greater Kestrel
3. Yellow-billed Kite
4. Brown-hooded Kingfisher
5. Sombre Greenbul
6. Black-backed Puffback
7. Scaly-throated Honeyguide
8. Pale Flycatcher

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:07 pm 
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Challenge #24 of 2012 had mixed results with some ‘mites scoring very well and others battling a bit. Returning an average score of 70.6%, this was more in line with the difficulty level I want to maintain.

This challenge had the lowest participation level for a while with only 14 ‘mites sending entries. The results are as follows:
One ‘mite scored 1;
two ‘mites scored 4;
five ‘mites scored between 5 and 7;
four scored around 9;
and two ‘mites got all the answers right.

Image

#1 – Grey-winged Francolin [10] . Some confusion with Red-winged and Orange River Francolin is apparent. pantera leo points out the salient features: Grey speckling on the throat and lacking the yellow base to the bill seen in Red-winged, Orange River and Shelley's Francolin. That last bit about the all-dark bill is a feature that stands out like a sore thumb if you know to look for it!

Image

#2 – Cory's Shearwater [8] . MattAxel writes: The combination of the brown back and yellow bill separates it from all the other Shearwaters found in our region.

Image

#3 – Drakensberg Rockjumper, female. [13] . No issues here.

Image

#4 – Bearded Vulture, immature [10] . Roan writes: Tail and wing shape. Destinctive beard sticking out along the beak.


Image

#5 – Pintado Petrel [13] . I expected more of a battle to manifest with this bird… in the end it caused very little trouble.

Image

#6 – Drakensberg Siskin [10] . MattAxel found that the: 2nd bonus question helped here because I knew it must be Drakensberg, not Cape Siskin, to be the 3rd Drakensberg bird in the challenge . But you can sort of see the white outer-tail feathers here which distinguish it from Cape Siskin.

I try to keep the twists related to the challenge birds… If ‘mites realize that, it can serve up ID clues! :thumbs_up:

Image

#7 – Ground Woodpecker [9] . Ladybirder writes: Pale eye, red on chest,long sharp bill. If you haven’t seen one before, it can be daunting to “place” the bird!

TWISTS

#1 – Roughly three percent of its total South African population officially carry “pet names”. Which species am I referring to?

Around 400 Bearded Vultures exist in South Africa and Lesotho. [6] Of these 17 have been fitted with transmitters. davejenny shares his source: The Bearded Vulture Project, Maluti-Drakensberg Vulture Project

adrianp suggested: With a moustache like that, one tracked vulture should be named "Pieter de Villiers! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Some tragic events have unfolded around Olivia recently about which I will post an account later today.

#2 – Three of our featured birds all have distributions limited to the same area in South Africa, which birds are these?

Challenge Birds #3, #4 and #6 [10] .

#3 – One of the featured species is part of Greek folklore. It inadvertently caused the death of a famous playwright. How?

adrianp wrote: The Greek playwright Aeschylus was said to have been killed in 456 or 455 BC by a tortoise dropped by an eagle who mistook his bald head for a stone - if this incident did occur, the Lammergeier is a likely candidate for the "eagle". [12] .

Read more about:

1. Grey-winged Francolin
2. Cory's Shearwater unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
3. Drakensberg Rockjumper
4. Bearded Vulture
5. Pintado Petrel unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
6. Drakensberg Siskin
7. Ground Woodpecker

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:43 pm 
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ID Challenge #25

1.
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Red-throated Wryneck [12] : The deep russet colouration on the upper breast and throat is diagnostic.

2.
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Rufous-naped Lark [6] : The main feature to look for was the rufous primaries, and most got to this point quite well. The other answer I got here was for Melodious Lark but the bill is too large and heavy as is the body. This bird is also in full song, Melodious Larks are quite inconspicuous only utter their call when in display flight.

3.
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Spotted Flycatcher [5] : If one looks closer there are some definite streaking on the crown which is diagnostic.

4.
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Spike-heeled Lark [7] : The relatively long decurved bill along with the white throat and diagnostic short, white tipped tail.

5.
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African Fish-Eagle [12] : Immature, the belly is heavily blotched and streaked while the tail is white with a wide black band close to the tip.

6.
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Familiar Chat [11] : There is a combination of rusty ear coverts and dull orange rump and outer tail.

7.
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Black-chested Prinia [10] : The clear white throat with a slight breastband, no streaking evident.

8.
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Neddicky [9] : Rusty crown and dull greyish underparts combined with pinkish brown legs and a pinkish horn bill.

9.
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Pririt Batis [5] : Female, a rich yellow ochre covers the breast and throat. Many opted for the Yellow-bellied Hyliota but on closer inspection you would have noticed that the bird in question has a yellow eye and not the dark eye of the Hyliota.

10.
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Sabota Lark [10] : A bird with a clear white eyebrow, white belly along with a streaked pattern on the back but lacking any rufous in the wing.

Read more about:

1. Red-throated Wryneck
2. Rufous-naped Lark
3. Spotted Flycatcher
4. Spike-heeled Lark
5. African Fish-Eagle
6. Familiar Chat
7. Black-chested Prinia
8. Neddicky
9. Pririt Batis
10. Sabota Lark


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:47 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Herewith the answers to challenge #26.

There were 11 entries with an average score of 7.0. The highest score was 8.5.

#1
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Shikra- very few problems here. Red eyes were the give-away to separate it from other smaller sparrowhawks and goshawks
#2
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Dark capped bulbul-No problems here. The downy feathers and obvious gape around the bill indicate that it is a juvenile…you should have heard the parents “vloeking” at me when I tried to photograph their baby.
#3
Image
Image
Buffy Pipit – I did my best here to give a clear example of all the characteristics of this species. To start, you have get as far as to suggest that it is a pipit. All of you got this right. Second, the plain back will separate pipits into two ID groups, most species have mottled/ scaled feathers on the back, whereas plain backed and buffy pipit have a plain back. Most of you got this. This is where the trouble starts, separating these two species. Lower mandible colour is not reliable as an ID feature, but is usually yellow in PBP, and pink in BP. Other more cryptic features are that buffy pipit tends to appear chest heavy and plain backed more belly heavy… but you have to see a lot of them to make this distinction. Buffy also tends to stand more upright (as shown in the picture), and has a flatter fore crown. From these clues, buffy becomes a better option. But without looking at an accurate library of pictures of these species, most of these features are cryptic to new birders. But here comes the clincher: the behaviour of the two species is very different. I did my best to video this bird, (my apologies for the short video and long upload times if you have a slow connection). There are two obvious features shown. Buffy has a very energetic walk, almost like a sewing machine, with body held horizontally, a lot like a wagtail. It normally wags its tail often, and the wagging is extensive, almost a full body wag, with the tail extending above the horizontal (as depicted in Faansies book). The plain backed pipit has a more “normal” walk, and the tail wag is less extensive, more of a downward push.
I hope this video helps for future field work, where there is “no way in hell” you can see mandible colour from 30m away!
#4
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Southern Black flycatcher –no problems here.
#5
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Swift tern- This one turned out harder than expected. Most of you guys went into shock at the sight of a seabird. Many of you got as far as the terns. “PNF suggested - Northern end of south-bound Antartic Terns!” . Ngululu and Panthera Leo nailed this one. The clue was the plain yellow bill (just visible). (My apologies I think this one was a bit too cryptic :redface: )
#6
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Karoo Prinia – photo was taken on a cold day on the garden route. Most guessed either Karoo or Drakensberg with one Namaqua warbler. What confused most of you were the puffed out feathers to keep warm (thermoregulation), and the effect that this has on the colour. Generally, most markings and colours are less distinct when puffed out, and return when the bird warms up and the feathers flatten down. Also there appears to be some variation of this species along the garden route with individuals being a bit more rufous… maybe we can split this species again and create the "garden route prinia" :naughty:
#7
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Red-necked spurfowl – No problems here with the local KFC
#8
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Juvenile Burchell’s Coucal- no problems here.

Quiz questions:
#9
Image

Which of these two explanations for sunbathing behaviour in this heron is incorrect?

There is a lot of speculation as to why birds sunbathe, and often different species will do it for different reasons. There is also a lot of rubbish written about it too, especially in the popular media. I used this question more as a means of stimulating thought about the way we interpret behaviour. Most of the time we are biased by extrapolating what we feel, to birds or animals, and also, we are sometimes biased by data from countries with different species and climates.

The incorrect answers were d and e. Explained as follows:

In South Africa, most birds sun themselves when it is very hot, not when it is cold. What they aim to achieve is an almost “super heating” of their body, where they sometimes have to pant in order to cool themselves internally from the heat they are collecting. The question, is why do they do this? They are obviously not trying to keep warm… its hot enough. Also feathers are a great insulator, especially when they fluff them out. Think of it, vultures can tolerate temperatures way below zero, and yet they love to sunbathe when it’s boiling hot. This would eliminate options d. (Well done Shafira :thumbs_up: ). Option e. was to get you all to smile a bit :lol: :dance:


a. Drive out heat sensitive mites and parasites.
This is very feasible, as most mites will try to run from the intense heat generated by the bird, often to the extremities of the feathers, where they can be preened off more easily.

b. To straighten out and harden the feathers to improve flight.
Feathers are made of keratin like substance. Think of your nails when you get out the bath, they go all soft, and they go hard when they dry out. The heating up of feathers hardens them up, especially after a moult.

c. Warm up the preening oils so that they distribute evenly.
Think of butter in a pan, the hotter the pan the faster is spreads across the surface. Most preening oils respond in a similar way, and spread better when hot.

d. Thermoregulation
As explained above, they are birds, not crocodiles. As warm blooded creatures, insulation is very effective to keep warm. In this case the heron was photographed in Kruger in summer, so no chance of it being too cold and needing the heat to keep warm. Granted, some temperate species may need to sun themselves for this.

e. It looks real sexy to other birds when you sunbathe.
NO, well maybe, I guess if I was a bird I'd find out for sure :wink:

f. Synthesis of vitamin D
Birds also need direct sunlight for synthesis of this NB vitamin

#10 Image
What is wrong with this tawny eagle?

D. was correct, this eagle had just caught and eaten a hare. The bulge is from the crop (1st stomach) which distends to store the extra food prior to digestion. This can be seen on most raptors after a meal. Nothing like a lekker bunny chow :twisted:

a. It has a sebaceous cyst caused by an ingrown feather
b. A cancerous growth on its chest
c. It has pumped its chest with air so that its song will carry further
d. It has eaten too much
e. Insect bite
f. Wound from a territorial fighting

Read more about:

1. Shikra
2. Dark-capped Bulbul
3. Buffy Pipit
4. Southern Black Flycatcher
5. Swift Tern
6. Karoo Prinia
7. Red-necked Spurfowl
8. Burchell's Coucal


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 Post subject: Bird ID Challenge no 2
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:19 pm 
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Posts: 613
Location: Pretoria
Challenge #27 Answers

#1 Red-faced Cisticola
A plain backed Cisticola with rich brown facial markings and flanks…

Image

#2 Brubru
Everybody got this one, a very straight forward ID
Image

#3 Little Rush Warbler
The long rounded tail combined with the dark brown upper parts, rufous flanks and fine streaking on the throat are the best clues to look for.
Image

#4 Orange-breasted Waxbill
The orange-red rump and short tail are diagnostic. These birds are found close to water so the reed it’s sitting on is also a good clue…
Image

#5 Juv Saddle-billed Stork
The easy one I thought turned out to be rather difficult!
The only Stork with a “saddle” at the base of the bill and although not yellow already visible even on the younger birds but just grey in colour. Differs further from Wooly-necked Stork by having a white belly and lacks the dark forehead of the juv. Wooly-necked Stork.
ImageSaddle-billed with Adult Wooly-necked Stork in the background
Image

#6 Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark Female
A ground dwelling bird with a black patch on the belly with the rich rufous on the wings are the main field characters.
Image

#7 Dark Chanting Goshawk
The long bare orange legs and fine streaks on the belly indicate Goshawk. The dark rump and secondaries are the best characters to separate this species from Pale Chanting Goshawk.
ImagePale-Chanting GH
ImageDark-Chanting GH

#8 Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher female
The white wing bar and crest are the best clues and the pale blue-grey head with mottled throat indicate the female here.
Image

Read more about:

1. Red-faced Cisticola
2. Brubru
3. Little Rush Warbler
4. Orange-breasted Waxbill unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
5. Saddle-billed Stork
6. Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Lark unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
7. Dark Chanting Goshawk
8. Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:31 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
Challenge #28 for 2012 returned an average score of 85%, way too easy for you ‘mites’ expertise!

This challenge equaled the lowest participation level with only 14 ‘mites sending entries. The results are as follows:
Two ‘mites scored 5;
three ‘mites scored 6;
five ‘mites scored 7;
four ‘mites got all the answers right.


Image

#1 – Red-necked falcon [14] . No problems here.

Image

#2 – Marico flycatcher [11] . Some confusion with Pale and chat flycatchers. Marico has rich brown upperparts and the greatest contrast between upper and lower parts. The cheek contrasts most starkly with the white throat, where the others have a gradual change from cheek colour to throat.

Image

#3 – Tawny eagle (blonde form) [13] . No issues here.

Image

#4 – Northern black korhaan [14] . Everyone nailed this ID.

Image

#5 – Black-chested prinia [9] . mel123 points out the salient features: some yellow coming through, white eyebrow, unstreaked chin. A bit of black on the chest is JUST visible if you look for it! Some yellow (not tawny brown) is also visible in the rump.

Image

#6 – Jackal buzzard [9] . This bird was confused with Steppe and Augur buzzards. ]. pantera leo writes: Can't be Steppe or forest because there is no clear barring or streaking. Dark underwing coverts eliminates Augur.

Image

#7 – Temminck’s courser [14] . Easy!

Image

#8 – Common fiscal [11] . The angle of the pix fooled some ‘mites. However, the short, stubby bill rules out the boubous.

Read more about:

1. Red-necked Falcon
2. Marico Flycatcher
3. Tawny Eagle
4. Northern Black Korhaan
5. Black-chested Prinia
6. Jackal Buzzard
7. Temminck's Courser
8. Common Fiscal

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:38 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Award: Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2316
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
Challenge #29 for 2012 returned an average score of 76%

For the second week in a row, the challenge low in participation level was equaled with only 14 ‘mites sending entries. Do we blame the Olympics?

The results are as follows:
Two ‘mites scored 5;
four ‘mites scored 6;
four ‘mites scored 7;
four ‘mites got all the answers right.


Image

#1 – Damara Canary [14] . No problems here.

Image

#2 – Terrestrial Brownbul [6] . The reddish-brown colour of the eye is unique in the birding world. The white throat contrasts nicely with the drab brown bird… another ID feature

Image

#3 – White-throated Canary [8] . This one surprisingly bowled over half the ‘mites. That massive two-tone bill can only belong to one canary. This canary shows faint malar stripes, the only one of the drab canaries that do.

Image

#4 – Karoo Prinia [13] . No trouble here…

Image

#5 – Cape bunting [14] . This one was easy…

Image

#6 – Grey Tit [13] . This one also caused no headaches…

TWISTS

Image

#1 – Feather mites. [8] . More about this in the next challenge…

Image

#2 – Zosterops virens virens [7] . There are two Cape white-eye variants, one with a yellow front and olive back (Zosterops virens virens), and one with grey front and olive-green back (Zosterops virens capensis).

Information about subspecies does not appear readily in fieldguides and requires a little more digging… A subspecies refers to a subdivision of a species of organisms, usually based on geographic distribution. The subspecies name is written in lowercase italics following the species name, as you can see in the answer above.

Read more about:

1. Damara Canary unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
2. Terrestrial Brownbul
3. White-throated Canary
4. Karoo Prinia
5. Cape Bunting
6. Grey Tit unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.

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