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Cisticola: Grey-backed

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:44 am

arks wrote:I too have a growing collection of 'unknown cisticolas' :wall: — to which these may be added. I try and try to distinguish between greybacked and Levaillant's cisticolas and invariably get them wrong, so .... Are these (which may or my not be the same bird) Levaillant's? See along Darling Hills Road on 31 May 2012.


I don't think it's the same bird, arks, but it is pix of the same species. :wink: Why did you pick Levailant's? How would you distinguish GBC from LC considering the features you can see in your pics (plain rufous crown, Buff-brown margins to black mantle feathers, rufous wing panel and even tail shape and length?)
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arks
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby arks » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:54 pm

Johan van Rensburg wrote:
arks wrote:I too have a growing collection of 'unknown cisticolas' :wall: — to which these may be added. I try and try to distinguish between greybacked and Levaillant's cisticolas and invariably get them wrong, so .... Are these (which may or my not be the same bird) Levaillant's? See along Darling Hills Road on 31 May 2012.

I don't think it's the same bird, arks, but it is pix of the same species. :wink: Why did you pick Levailant's? How would you distinguish GBC from LC considering the features you can see in your pics (plain rufous crown, Buff-brown margins to black mantle feathers, rufous wing panel and even tail shape and length?)

Thanks, Johan. I think that my field guide (Newman) doesn't tell me enough detail :roll: Perhaps that's why I invariably get it wrong? :wall: I thought that these birds had backs that are more black than grey and my book shows the Levaillant's as have a more solidly clear rufous head than the greybacked ... and I don't see any noticable difference on the Newman's drawings in the tail length and the rufous on the wings.

(OK, so may be I need a new/better field guide?)
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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:15 pm

arks wrote:
Johan van Rensburg wrote:
arks wrote:I too have a growing collection of 'unknown cisticolas' :wall: — to which these may be added. I try and try to distinguish between greybacked and Levaillant's cisticolas and invariably get them wrong, so .... Are these (which may or my not be the same bird) Levaillant's? See along Darling Hills Road on 31 May 2012.

I don't think it's the same bird, arks, but it is pix of the same species. :wink: Why did you pick Levailant's? How would you distinguish GBC from LC considering the features you can see in your pics (plain rufous crown, Buff-brown margins to black mantle feathers, rufous wing panel and even tail shape and length?)

Thanks, Johan. I think that my field guide (Newman) doesn't tell me enough detail :roll: Perhaps that's why I invariably get it wrong? :wall: I thought that these birds had backs that are more black than grey and my book shows the Levaillant's as have a more solidly clear rufous head than the greybacked ... and I don't see any noticable difference on the Newman's drawings in the tail length and the rufous on the wings.

(OK, so may be I need a new/better field guide?)



Nothing wrong with Newman's ... its illustrations of these two species are spot-on. All of the features I mention above are shown there. I'm just not sure if my cryptic answer had the desired outcome namely to have you go back (to your NEWMAN's) and compare the two cisticolas, then re-evaluate your (originally correct) ID based on these clues/tips!

The idea was for you to make the ID based on those features, then you shouldn't battle again in future when you encountre these specific birds seeing that you will understand and know those points on which you can base a correct ID everytime.
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arks
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby arks » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:14 pm

Johan van Rensburg wrote:
arks wrote:
Johan van Rensburg wrote:
arks wrote:I too have a growing collection of 'unknown cisticolas' :wall: — to which these may be added. I try and try to distinguish between greybacked and Levaillant's cisticolas and invariably get them wrong, so .... Are these (which may or my not be the same bird) Levaillant's? See along Darling Hills Road on 31 May 2012.

I don't think it's the same bird, arks, but it is pix of the same species. :wink: Why did you pick Levailant's? How would you distinguish GBC from LC considering the features you can see in your pics (plain rufous crown, Buff-brown margins to black mantle feathers, rufous wing panel and even tail shape and length?)

Thanks, Johan. I think that my field guide (Newman) doesn't tell me enough detail :roll: Perhaps that's why I invariably get it wrong? :wall: I thought that these birds had backs that are more black than grey and my book shows the Levaillant's as have a more solidly clear rufous head than the greybacked ... and I don't see any noticable difference on the Newman's drawings in the tail length and the rufous on the wings.

(OK, so may be I need a new/better field guide?)

Nothing wrong with Newman's ... its illustrations of these two species are spot-on. All of the features I mention above are shown there. I'm just not sure if my cryptic answer had the desired outcome namely to have you go back (to your NEWMAN's) and compare the two cisticolas, then re-evaluate your (originally correct) ID based on these clues/tips!

The idea was for you to make the ID based on those features, then you shouldn't battle again in future when you encountre these specific birds seeing that you will understand and know those points on which you can base a correct ID everytime.

You mean I've finally got it right?!? :dance: It's just that I'm SO lacking in confidence when I try to ID cisticolas, and in the past I had often/usually gotten it wrong. So glad to understand now that I am finally making some progress .... :whistle: :wink:

Thanks, Johan, for never making it easy, that's the best way for me to learn! :tongue: :thumbs_up:
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30 June-8 July National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
8-15 July Mountain Zebra
16-22 July Cape Town
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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:12 pm

arks wrote:You mean I've finally got it right?!? :dance: It's just that I'm SO lacking in confidence when I try to ID cisticolas, and in the past I had often/usually gotten it wrong. So glad to understand now that I am finally making some progress .... :whistle: :wink:

Thanks, Johan, for never making it easy, that's the best way for me to learn! :tongue: :thumbs_up:


So, does that mean the end of grey-backed/Levailant's cisticola conundrums from your neck-o'-the-wood? :hmz:
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby arks » Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:00 am

Johan van Rensburg wrote:
arks wrote:You mean I've finally got it right?!? :dance: It's just that I'm SO lacking in confidence when I try to ID cisticolas, and in the past I had often/usually gotten it wrong. So glad to understand now that I am finally making some progress .... :whistle: :wink:

Thanks, Johan, for never making it easy, that's the best way for me to learn! :tongue: :thumbs_up:

So, does that mean the end of grey-backed/Levailant's cisticola conundrums from your neck-o'-the-wood? :hmz:

:lol: I've actually been posting fewer and fewer cisticola ID queries, but sometimes I'm (still) just not 100% sure :redface: and need reassurance :wink:
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30 June-8 July National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
8-15 July Mountain Zebra
16-22 July Cape Town
* * *
16-28 November Cape Town
29 November-20 January Darling

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Re: Help with identifying this little bird please

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:15 am

Lazy Cisticola is a good suggestion, but I don't think it occurs along the West Coast though.

Neddicky and Grey-backed Cisticola are your other main contenders. I'd perhaps go with a rather cocky Grey-backed.
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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Help with identifying this little bird please

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:49 am

I agree with WTM: grey-backed cisticola.

HanlieLr, I suggest you use the threads that are stuck at the top of this forum for future ID queries. Other 'mites have suggested so to you in the past, but you may have missed their suggestions. The reason those ID threads are "stuck" at the top is that many of the knowledgable birders who help out on the formus only scan those threads, so, YOUR BIRD QUERIES are loosing out on getting their attention.
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