Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 4 of 10
 [ 142 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ... 10  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:09 pm 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2330
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
#30 of 2012 had the least number of participants since we started the new batch last year.
Overall the challenge returned an average score of 71.6%, one of the tougher tests.

We had 11 ‘mites taking part, the lowest total since we started this new series of challenges.

The results are as follows:
Three ‘mites scored 5;
four ‘mites scored 7;
four ‘mites scored (near) 9;
nobody got all the answers right.

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


Image

#1 – Black harrier. [11] . No problems here.

Image

#2 – Verreaux's Eagle Owl [11] . Easy!

Image

#3 – Brown Snake-Eagle, sub-adult. [9] . The only "confusing" species was black-chested snake-eagle. The undertail of our challenge bird is too dark for it to be a BCSE

Image

#4 – Bateleur [11] . You 'mites nailed this one! :thumbs_up:
#4b – Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk, sub-adult [2] . By far the toughest ID to make. [/b][/color] davejenny explains his choice: I initially thought of a Greater Kestrel and Bateleur, but once I enlarged the photograph I could see red legs and a reddish cere.... this pointed towards a Chanting Goshawk, or a Gabar Goshawk. The brown on the chest suggested a sub-adult PCG. (The Raptor Guide by Oberprieler/Cillie helped me out here).

Image

#5 – Malachite Sunbird [11] . A gift! :lol:

Image

#6 – Pearl-breasted Swallow [8] . If you recognized the bird as a swallow, you got the ID. One ‘mite thought it was a house martin… they have white feet.

TWISTS


#1 – There are possibly tens of thousands of feather mite species in existence, most of which can be divided into four types of bird-living mites. Which are these four groups of mites?

I apologise for setting the question in unclear terms. Some of you ‘mites really went to town trying to find answers when all I needed was reference to the mite types. The four types are: Down mites, Vane mites, Quill mites and Skin mites. Many of you sent in the Latin specie names and I tried to give credit where I could. As far as I could figure out the fancy answer would be Analgoidea, Freyanoidea, Pterolichoidea and Dermanyssoidea. The tree below illustrates which species families make up the four groups of mites.

Image

#2 – Mites are permanent parasites living exclusively on birds, causing them all kinds of stress by feeding on various substances produced by the bird. Some bird observations are suggesting that birds can alleviate the infestation of mites by a natural remedy. What bird behavior constitutes such a remedy?

The answer I looked for was a bird behavior called “Anting” hilda posted a wonderful essay: Anting is perhaps some of the strangest behaviour indulged in by birds. Anting occurs in two different forms and for the sake of this essay it does not always involve ants.
Most anting, however, does involve ants and over 250 different species of birds have been recorded displaying this behaviour at one time or another. Anting occurs either as active anting, in which the bird picks an ant up and applies it to its plumage, or passive anting. Normally, the ant during active anting will be stroked along the feathers, usually the flight feathers. Starlings (Sternus vulgaris) actively seek out Formicine ants which suggests that the ants' ability to spray formic acid is an important consideration. It has been observed by many people that during anting the birds appear to get exceedingly excited. After the ant has been applied to the feathers it is either discarded or eaten. Other active anting birds are Babblers, Tanagers and Weavers.

Passive anting involves the bird finding an ants' nest and lying down among the ants. This process often likened to bathing in ants is not as well studied as active anting. Birds which are passive anters include the European Jay, Crows and Waxbills.

Because life loves diversity, Blackbirds, Redwings and other thrushes exercise a flexible strategy, being either passive or active anters as the occasion or some unknown need takes them. Strangest of all perhaps is the Grey Thrush of Japan which is a passive anter which goes throughout the actions of an active anter, but without any ants in its bill.

Finally, birds have also been observed to indulge in anting behaviour using objects that are not ants such as mothballs and apple peel.

What actually happens during anting is easy to observe and record, especially as many birds will display anting activity in captivity if offered ants. A more difficult question to answer is why. In truth nobody seems really sure what birds get out of anting. People have theorised that the ants help rid the birds of pests like feather mites and louse flies, other theories suggest that the anting is just a way of getting the ant to discharge its store of formic acid before eating it. The trouble with this idea is that it doesn't explain passive anting. Scientific evidence supporting the pest control theory is hard to find. However, it is known that ants are only eaten after they have discharged all of their acid. It is not unreasonable to assume that active anting as we see it today evolved from a detoxifying action to make ants edible but gave the added benefit of pest control to some extent. Nature often likes to perform several roles with one action and though scientists like to understand the order of importance and/or the order of origination of an action this is not always easy to achieve.

Perhaps related to anting, but even more bizarre is 'smoke bathing'. Birds such as Rooks have been observed standing on smoking chimneys with their wings spread open in a similar posture to some birds when anting. Birds have also been seen to use smoking cigarette butts for anting. On other occasions both houses and trees have been set alight by birds taking live cigarettes back to their nests. No-one really knows why.


Anting as a mite remedy has been researched scientifically. A Russian parasitologist, Dr. V. B. Dubinin documented a 35% mortality in feather mites from an anting bird as opposed to just 1% mortality of mites collected from a non-anting bird. That was the evidence that I based my question on. Later I found reference to a more recent (unpublished) study that could not replicate these results from the Russian scientist, actually finding no increase in mortality rates amongst mites exposed to anting. So, we are actually back to square one… not knowing why anting is practiced by birds!

Several other bird behaviours have been anecdotally linked to self-treatment of feather mites, but none have been scientifically proven so.

hilda also mentions: Bird mites have piercing mouthparts that enable them to take blood meals from their bird hosts. Although the mites will inadvertently bite people, they cannot reproduce without their bird hosts.

If conditions are right, bird mites can cause people an uncomfortable time until they are controlled through medical/chemical intervention or the reproductive cycle of the mite fails naturally…

Read more about:

1. Black Harrier
2. Verreaux's Eagle-Owl
3. Brown Snake-Eagle
4. Bateleur and Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk
5. Malachite Sunbird
6. Pearl-breasted Swallow

_________________
666 Latest lifer: Sooty Tern


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:56 pm 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2330
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
After grumbling about dwindling participation a small upturn is evident in challenge #31 of 2012 with 16 PMs received. I hope the "early posting of the results won't put someone in a grumpy place... I have another feather safari starting now-now! We know that many of our regulars will not be around for various pleasant reasons similar to my own, so some work will have to be done to get old and new participants to post PMs and keep up the momentum.

Overall the challenge returned an average score of 89.6%, by a long margin providing a good opportunity to chalk up a 100%.

As I said, we had 16 ‘mites taking part. The results are as follows:
One ‘mite scored 4;
One ‘mite scored 5;
Seven ‘mites scored 6;
and the rest made up the most ever full scores (7)

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

Image

#1 – Ashy Tit [16] . No problems here.

Image

#2 – Eurasian Curlew [16] . Easy!

Image

#3 – African Marsh-harrier [11] . This was the toughest ID challenge. ] pantera leo makes an important observation: No white on the rump eliminates Pallid and Montagu's females. Not enough cream/white in the head to be a female Western Marsh-Harrier.

Image

#4 – Brown-crowned Tchagra [15] . A gift! :lol:

Image

#5 – Yellow-breasted Apalis [14] . This one should not have presented any problems, yet two mites thought it was a Grey-headed bush-shrike. How? A GHBS has a very heavy bill and near white eyes?

Image

#6 – African Pied Wagtail [11] . A few mites thought this to have been a pied kingfisher. If it was a PKF, in flight at that angle you would have seen a white rump, less white in the wing, more white on the back. Other “guesses” were Blacksmith lapwing and white-eared barbet.

Image

#7 – Brown-headed Parrot [16] . A give-away!

Read more about:

1. Ashy Tit
2. Eurasian Curlew unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
3. African Marsh-Harrier
4. Brown-crowned Tchagra
5. Yellow-breasted Apalis
6. African Pied Wagtail
7. Brown-headed Parrot

_________________
666 Latest lifer: Sooty Tern


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 11:32 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2330
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
Here are the results of challenge #32.

We had 14 ‘mites taking part.

One ‘mite scored 5;
two ‘mites scored 6;
four ‘mites scored 7;
three scored 8;
three scored 9;
and we had one who got all the answers right.

Overall the challenge returned an average score of 75.7%.

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

Image

#1 – Burchell's Coucal, a juvenile bird [3] . Very few got this ID right, I think simply because of the obvious features displayed by this bird caused a knee-jerk ID. However, some deeper delving was required here. Due to the barring on the wings and the light-coloured bill one knows that the bird is a youngster, therefore BC is also a distinct possibility because juvenile Burchell’s coucals also show that heavy white eyebrow. The trick was to ELIMINATE White-browed coucal from the equation. If I had given a hint to distribution, the call would have been much easier. WBCs have another distinct feature that cannot be seen on our challenge bird: that is the very obvious, heavy white streaking on the back of the neck and shoulders.

Here is an example of WBC

Image

#2 – African Harrier-Hawk (pale Juvenile) [12] . The bald facial skin normally alerts the observer to the identity of the bird.

Image

#3 – Southern White-crowned Shrike [14] . Too easy!

Image

#4 – Lesser Masked-weaver [11] . The pale eye would rule out all other weavers this bird can be confused with.

Image

#5 – Lanner Falcon [8] . Mostly confused with Peregrine falcon. Hint of the pale brown crown can just be seen in the pic. Also, the “tear” mark of the facial mask is too narrow for a PF.

Image

#6 – Red-billed Quelea [14] . Way too easy!

Image

#7 – Great Spotted Cuckoo [14] didn’t test you at all.

ANSWERS TO THE TWISTS

T1 – What is the matter with this bird's legs?

Image
Large size

Scaly leg mites, Knemidocoptes mutans [8] . mel123 wrote: I think its caused by scaly leg mites. It is caused by a parasitic mite, Knemidocoptes mutans. The mite burrows under the scales in the bird's legs, but may also infest other areas, such as the comb or wattles of chickens. The mite spends its entire lifecycle on the birds and is usually spread by direct contact. The condition can lead to loss of toes and sometimes even limbs. Badly affected birds will loose condition and eventually die of malnutrition.

T2 – What benefits do satellite tracking technology hold for ornithologists?
The advantage of satellite tracking technology is that it allows observers to obtain spatially explicit information about animal movements and their habitat use, both of which are fundamental for conservation. [12] . Most ‘mites got a good understanding of what satellite tracking does for research.

T3 – What does xanthochroic refer to?

Xanthochroic is the name used to describe an unusually high level of yellow pigmentmentation. [12] . tosha wrote:It is relatively common in birds, fish and other animals whose colouration is unusually yellow through an excess of yellow pigment, or possibly a loss of darker pigments that allows yellow pigment to be unusually dominant. It is often associated with the lack of usual red pigmentation and its replacement with yellow. The cause is usually genetic but may also be caused by diet.

Read this thread to see an example. :roll:

Read more about:

1. Burchell's Coucal
2. African Harrier-Hawk
3. Southern White-crowned Shrike
4. Lesser-masked Weaver
5. Lanner Falcon
6. Red-billed Quelea
7. Great Spotted Cuckoo

_________________
666 Latest lifer: Sooty Tern


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:03 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2330
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
Just as a matter of interest: PNF, WillemK, granjan, arks, Tilandi, Malles, Gregor, JenB, pantera leo, Micetta, Nkumbe, louis dreyer , MattAxel, anne-marie, Elsa, Jazil, PeterPM, Crested Val, Ngululu, mosij, bosticbudgie, Kika, Rookie, Hippotragus, shadowdog, Cherries, okie, sterblan, Moose, Manovo-Gounda, Wolph, yvo, deefstes, buglette, Guinea Pig, Etienne Hinrichsen (Waterbuck), Roan, tosha and Dugong all contributed at one stage or another (some were VERY regular participants!) With Sky (expecting his PM tonight) that makes 40 ‘mites that we may be able to lure back into participation… if only I knew how! :slap: I know some of them still continue looking, but I no longer get PMs for them. :(

_________________
666 Latest lifer: Sooty Tern


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:48 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2330
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
hilda wrote:
Do you think a pm to each of them will help? I am willing to assist you with pms if you want me to Johan! :wink:


Anything is worth a try. SANParks have so much competition out there with FACEBOOK 'n' all that I think we will have to (must) do extraordinary things to maintain only a small portion of the "readership" we use to enjoy in the "good ol' days"... So, if you don't mind, hilda...

At anne-marie: enjoy your trip! Hope to have you back as a super-regular when you get back with all the freshly-gained "in-the-feathers" South African bird ID skills :lol:

_________________
666 Latest lifer: Sooty Tern


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:51 pm 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2330
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
Here are the results of challenge #33.

We had 19 ‘mites taking part, mainly thanks to hilda’s efforts to get the ‘mites’ noses back in their fieldguides! :clap: :clap: :clap:

One ‘mite scored 4;
five ‘mites scored 5;
five ‘mites scored 6;
four got 7;
three scored 8;
one scored 9;
and we had none with all the answers right.

Overall the challenge returned an average score of 63.2%... Surprising how difficult an ID is of a bird-in-the-hand!

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

Image

#1 – Green twinspot female [19] . Everyone were spot-on here.

Image

#2 – Brown-crowned Tchagra [8] . Everyone else thought it was a Black-crowned tchagra. I selected the camera angle so that the brown crown would be difficult to see (there is enough of a hint for the sharper-eyed observers not to be taken in by this trick…). Some birds are like that: it has one outstanding ID feature without which one often fails to make the right ID-call, in spite of there being enough other features by which the correct ID can be made. The Afrikaans name for this Tchagra is: Rooivlerktjagra, meaning red wing… Not all the fieldguides put enough emphasis on this feature, some actually having the shading wrong! The second feature is the colour of the breast: very light (tending to white) for the BCT and buffy/grey for our bird.

Image

#3 – Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird [19] . Too easy!

Image

#4 – Stierling's Wren-warbler [11] . Nearly all other calls were for barred wren-warbler. Sharifa wrote: The black barring on the white underparts differentiates it from the Barred Wren- Warbler which has brown barring. The eye of the SWW is also orange and not brown.

Image

#5 – Red-backed Mannikin, juvenile [10] . Most ‘mites confused this bird with a Bronze mannikin. Bronzies NEVER have red feathers on their backs at any stage of their lives.

Image

#6 – Yellow-billed Oxpecker (Immature) [8] . Hide the bill and most people will agree: the ID becomes VERY difficult to make! Although the challenge bird was a “brown job”, the combination of dark brown head, neck, shoulders and wings with a pale rump is unique amongst SA birds. Apart from the bird’s song, the pale rump of the YBO is the only major ID feature that one can use to distinguish between juvenile red-billed and yellow-billed oxpeckers in a mixed flock.

Image

#7 – Brown-backed Honeybird [8] . Although they are most likely to be confused with African Dusky or Spotted Flycatchers, the shape of the bill and the stance (giss) just do not spell flycatcher… And looking for the characteristic rictal bristles to confirm “flycatcher”, you’d find none!

Some opted for Karoo chat, the general colouration being quite close. The bill shape and giss is also not right for the chat…

If you have never seen a BBHB, the slog through your fieldguide(s) starts here… Hopefully you’ll recognize it when you see it!

Image

#8 – Long-billed Crombec [2] . Wow! Maybe being at the back-end of a tough challenge, ‘mites took this bird as easy? Most confusion was evident here. Again there is no doubt once you are pointed to the right ID. Like mel123 wrote: The grey eye stripe, reddish eye, (generally the) colouring.

Grey on top with buffy below is quite a unique colour combination!

Various prinias’ facial patterns do not fit.

Image

Kalahari scrub-robin was another popular choice. Bill shape and eye colour will not match.

ANSWERS TO THE TWISTS
A list of trivia quoted by you… Good work! :thumbs_up:

T1 – SAFRING

• established in 1948
• maintains a database of all birds ringed in southern Africa that can be used to establish information about movement and survival of different species.
• There are currently about 130 ringers active in southern Africa.Every bird.
• In 1982, this database has been augmented by a retrap database that contains ringing information and details of birds.
• SAFRing ringers operate in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.
• About 70 000 birds are ringed annually.
• Ringers, both amateur and professional, have to pay for all rings used. An exception is those rings used on Redbilled Quelea, which are paid for by the Department of Agriculture. Recoveries of ringed quelea provide data on movements and mortality and contribute to a better understanding of the population dynamics of this explosively (destructive) species.
• There have been more than 21 000 ring recoveries since the start of the project. This gives an overall recovery rate for rings in southern Africa of marginally less than 1%, averaged across all species.
• The database as a whole is a resource for researchers, conservation biologists and managers, and primarily provides answers to questions related to movement and survival.
• Ringing provides a cost- effective tool for monitoring our environment and commonly draws attention to pollution, poisoning, powerline incidents, longline fishing fatalities and other hazards.
• Ringers catch the birds in mist nets and weigh and measure them before ringing and releasing.
• People who ring birds have to have a permit/licence and be properly trained/qualified. On average it takes two years to qualify as a bird ringer.


T2 – SABAP

• South African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP) has been described as the largest biodiversity ever undertaken on the continent of Africa.
• The project has won several awards; the most notable was the John FW Herschell Gold Medal of the Royal Society of South Africa, which was awarded to the seven editors of the SABAP Bird Atlas in 1999.
• The compilation of checklists is a perennially popular activity among birders; the scientific value of doing this was clearly demonstrated by SABAP.
• SABAP is being followed up with a similar project (SABAP2) which will produce a database complementary to that of the first atlas.
• Fieldwork for SABAP began in 1987. The project culminated with the publication in 1997 of The Atlas of Southern African Birds.
• The new atlas project is known as Second Southern African Bird Atlas Project, and is abbreviated to SABAP2.
• SABAP covered six countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. At the time, Mozambique was engulfed in a civil war, and needed to be excluded.
• The resolution for SABAP1 was the quarter degree grid cell, QDGC, 15 minutes of latitude by 15 minutes of longitude, 27.4 km north-south and about 25 km east-west, an area about 700 square km. However in Botswana a half degree grid cell was used. The total number of grid cells, taking account of the courser resolution in Botswana, was 3973. Fieldwork was conducted mainly in the five-year period 1987–1991, but the project coordinators included all suitable data collected after 1980. In some areas, particularly those that were remote and inaccessible, data collection continued until 1993.
• Fieldwork was undertaken mainly by birders, and most of it was done voluntarily. Fieldwork consisted of compiling bird lists in the grid cells. All the checklists were fully captured into a database. The final dataset consisted of 147 605 checklists containing a total of 7.3 million records of bird distribution. No checklists were available for 88 grid cells (2.2% of the total).
• Project coordination was undertaken by the Avian Demography Unit (ADU) at the University of Cape Town.
• Since 2008, the acronym ADU has stood for the Animal Demography Unit.
• The final product of the project was a two-volume set of A4-sized books, covering 932 species, with a total of 1500 pages, and published in 1997 by BirdLife South Africa.
• The books are now out of print, but the individual species texts are available on the SABAP2 website.
• Volume 1 contains a chapter on the relevance of southern African geography to birds
• Because of the wide diversity of habitats in southern Africa, this project showed that 9% of the total number of bird species of the world are found in an area (southern Africa) that constitutes only 1.67% of the world's land surface.
• The project provides information on distribution; seasonality of breeding; and the direction and seasonality of migration.
• It provided much of the information upon which the Important Bird Area selection process in southern Africa was based
• It provided much of the information upon which the IUCN Red List for birds in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland were based.
• SABAP2 is now underway and has branched out to collect data about migratory arrivals and departures.

Read more about:

1. Green Twinspot
2. Brown-crowned Tchagra
3. Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird
4. Stierling's Wren-Warbler
5. Red-backed Mannikin
6. Yellow-billed Oxpecker
7. Brown-backed Honeybird
8. Long-billed Crombec

_________________
666 Latest lifer: Sooty Tern


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:53 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2330
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
granjan wrote:
Hi Johan.
I dismissed long billed crombec because I thought there was a long tail out of focus and couldn't find any other answer. :wall: :wall: :wall:
Is that a tail or an artefact?


Image

"Artefact" would be something I added artificially? Whatever caused that abberation of pixels... 't wasn't me :lol:

_________________
666 Latest lifer: Sooty Tern


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:12 pm 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2330
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
I've got good news and I've got bad news...

Good news: I've recovered some of the lost stuff referred to in my previous post and will publish the outstanding results by Wednesday latest.

Bad news: I've been offered a 5-year extention of my working life that involves a relocation. This means that my time for the rest of this year will be dedicated to getting to grips with the new career challenges. Where hilda did such a fantastic job to get the interest in the ID challenge restored, she filled me with the confidence that she'll be able to get together a team of 'mites (rather than have one person take the responsibility) to continue championing the ID thread. I have not discussed this with hilda, so this suggestion will come as a (nasty?) surprise to her. Just an idea...

_________________
666 Latest lifer: Sooty Tern


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:25 pm 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Sighting of the Year - Birds (2013)
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:33 pm
Posts: 2330
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
You guys must just be patient. Already adrianp has promised to keep the ball rolling and hilda has promised to cajole people into setting up challenges.

Here are the results of challenge #34.

We had a goodly 23 ‘mites taking part, mainly thanks to hilda’s efforts to get the ‘mites’ noses back in their fieldguides! This turned out to be a nice (temporary?) farewell present for me to have so many ‘mites do this final challenge!

One ‘mite scored 4;
four ‘mites scored 5;
six ‘mites scored 6;
eight got 7;
four scored 8;
and we had none doing better than that.

Overall the challenge returned an average score of 65.9%... Most of you battled with all three juvenile birds!

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

Image

#1 – African wood owl [23] . Everyone was spot-on here.

Image

#2 – Juvenile Buff-streaked chat [4] . One knows that it is a juvenile bird by the yellow gape. Once you have made that distinction a red flag should go up! The juveniles of most chats, robin-chats, stonechat, thrushes and rockjumpers looks like this mottled, non-discript bird in our challenge. The (old) Newmans shows an illustration that is (incorrectly) labled “female” that matches our bird exactly. Some guides describe the juvenile as resembling the female with additional buff spots on upperparts and dark scaling on underparts, but illustrations are lacking in all of them. When we go surfing the webz this pic on Trevor Hardakers site is a close match.

Image

#3 – Olive Woodpecker [23] . Too easy!

Image

#4 – Sentinel Rock-Thrush [23] . Another gift. :lol:

Image

#5 – Red capped lark, juvenile. [1] . Only adrianp got this one right.

I had two ‘mites thinking this was a pipit; one ‘mite quoted a tip I gave some time ago about the scaling on the bird’s legs helping you to distinguish between lark and pipit and then applied the information incorrectly. :wall: I thought this presented an opportunity to revisit the lark/pipit tarsus tip. Below is a picture of a striped pipit that shows the scute pattern on the tarsus of a pipit.

Image

The scales on the legs of pipits consist of five rectangular scutes (scales) that cover the entire front of the tarsus (the top and bottom scales being shorter than the middle three); the back of the tarsus is covered by a single, continuous sheath. In larks the legs are covered by a multitude of scales, both front and back. Generally the feet of a pipit is much more delicate than those of larks, not that it matters here... However, you can see the scaling pattern on our challenge bird’s legs: many more (round) scales than five on the front and the back has many more scales than the single sheath of a pipit.

OK! So, we know now that this is a lark and NOT a pipit… The gape again indicates a young bird. We know with young birds the colours differ from the standard adult plumage. With this bird you can see the beginning of that conspicuous rufous cap and pectoral patches… unmistakeably a red-capped lark.

Image

#6 – Common House Martin [17] . A few ‘mites thought this one to be a pearl-breasted swallow. The white leggings that extend onto the bird’s feet is uniquely CHM.

Image

#7 – Fairy Flycatcher [23] . Another bird where nobody faltered. :thumbs_up:

Image

#8 – Caspian tern [3] . This one made you guys and gals sweat… Like the previous two youngsters, finding answers are not straightforward.

I loved this answer:
Quote:
Homo sapiens: Ten fingers and the wearing of clothes is a dead give away. As can be seen from the picture it has mastered the art of using tools. It is also holding a "I-will-only-know-what-I-am-when-I-grow-up"bird.
It is absolute proof of someone thoroughly enjoying the challenge – made my day! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Mutorashanga wrote: I looked at the gulls, albatrosses and others, but finally settled on the Swift Tern and the Caspian Tern. The young are quite similar, and both are birds where the legs are prone to be yellowish, rather than dark in colour. I decided that it was a Caspian Tern on the basis of the larger bill and also the dark patch in front of the eye. The Caspian chicks only look like this for a short time. The bird also has a larger head, while the Swift tern has a much longer more slender bill.

The twists did not present much of a problem and I see that some ‘mites even considered “joining” the altassing brigade… My intention entirely! :thumbs_up:

Read more about:

1. African Wood-Owl
2. Buff-streaked Chat
3. Olive Woodpecker
4. Sentinel Rock-Thrush
5. Red-capped Lark
6. Common House-Martin
7. Fairy Flycatcher
8. Caspian Tern

_________________
666 Latest lifer: Sooty Tern


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:02 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:44 pm
Posts: 467
Location: Far away from Home....
Good Evening Everyone.

As promised the results for challenge 35#

We had a total of 19 participants and I guess if I was working for government I would have a promotion now :whistle: as the group got a very good average of 82.9%! :dance: :D

1 Mite got 4/8
2 Mites got 5/8
5 mites got 6/8
6 Mites got 7/8
and Micetta, Jakkie Human, Roan, Gryskopvisvanger and Dabchick got Full marks! :thumbs_up:

The birds that I thought would be tricky everyone got right. So here are the answers:

OK so here goes:
#1:
Image
[14] Black crowned Tchagra:
Ok this Bird fooled more people than I thought it would. Almost everyone got the family right! Then it was a choice between Brown and Black crowned as I did say the photo was taken in KNP. Personally I have never seen Southern Tchagra in the KNP. I think the biggest I.D feature here is the black crown stripe. The "dirty white" supercilium and more russet brown back is also a good pointer here.
#2:
Image
[18] Village Weaver:
I think this was obvious. The photo although obscure still shows the key areas well. The yellow crown all the way till the beak and the "spotted" back. Which is also this birds old name.
#3:
Image
[14] Wahlberg's Eagle:
I thought this would be tough but the majority got it right. Everyone managed to see it as an Eagle due to the Feathered Tarsi. Size was difficult to judge on the photo I guess and the dark eye region was also not that visible. The key here was the uniform color, yellow cere and visible occipital crest! From my own experience the more Wahlberg's I see the easier it becomes to I.D them. They do have a GISS about them...
#4:
Image
[19] Red Billed Firefinch Female:
No problems here for everyone! I really thought the angle would be tough but you guys are to good... :lol:
#5:
Image
[13] Cardinal Woodpecker:
So this bird seemed to throw the majority of people. I guess I was a little sneaky as I cropped it to make the bird look bigger. There are however enough features available to I.D this guy. As this photo was taken in Satara camp I will only compare 3 species here. Bennett's: Spotted breast and streaked back. Golden-Tailed: Steaked Breast and Spotted back. Cardinal: Streaked Breast and Barred back.
#6:
Image
[16] Tawny Eagle:
I didn't think this would be easy but most of you got this. I guess the size of the Bird and its Talons was key to placing it in the Brown Eagle complex. The best I.D feature here is the Light and dark streaking on the neck, breast and head. This is a Tawny Trait although I have only seen this once myself.
#7:
Image
[13] Marico Sunbird:
I really didn't think you guys would struggle with this Bird. For my this was a easy tick.... :hmz: It could only have been confused with Purple banded Sunbird and that is not found in KNP. The Black belly being key here. Bill is also quite heavy as opposed to S.D.C.S...
#8:
Image
[19] Black Cuckooshrike:
Easy one for everyone. No problems here. Actually a unmistakable female with her Yellow and white barred breast.

Good Luck with Adrianp challenge #36. Looks tricky! Happy Birding.

Read more about:

1. Black-crowned Tchagra
2. Village Weaver
3. Wahlberg's Eagle
4. Red-billed Firefinch
5. Cardinal Woodpecker
6. Tawny Eagle
7. Marico Sunbird
8. Black Cuckoo-Shrike

_________________
Stiffneck on the loose.....
Latest Lifer:= Shelley's Francolin; Flappet Lark.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:29 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:18 am
Posts: 275
Thanks for entering challenge #36.

The results were on average lower than for most challenges (median 6/10), but I think this was to be expected, since there were some very difficult birds, and I think question 9 was somewhat overcooked…for a food item :twisted:

Just a prelude to raptor ID: adult raptors are generally territorial and as such, the juveniles are usually born with different outfits (like school uniforms) as if to say “please don’t bash me up, I have no intention of stealing your mate or your territory”. As a result, colour is probably one of the least reliable features. The most important thing is to learn the shapes, as if you use colour, e.g. brown streaks on a white chest could be anything from a little sparrow hawk, African goshawk, Cuckoo hawk, or even a young forest buzzard and so you can be completely misled. By understanding shape it is a whole lot easier to put the raptor into the right family group e.g. short broad powerful wings and a long tail would suggest the sparrow hawk family, whereas pointed wing tips would put you among the falcons. Shape is reliable, as it would be almost impossible for a bird to change this. One of the most useful tips with the juveniles is also to look at the proportions of the face and body, and see how the ratios of these compare across photos taken from a similar angle. So, now onto the answers….

1. White backed vulture
Image

2. Cape vulture
Image

Everybody got these right, as the pictures depict the most reliable ID feature, is the colour of the skin (Verwoerd would be proud :shock: ). Black for white backed vulture and pink for cape vulture. Other more cryptic features are black eye in WBV and pale golden eye in adult CV. Eye colour is #$%^ing hard to see in the field and doesn’t work with juvenile CV.

3. African Cuckoo Hawk
Image
This one nearly got me in the field… good thing I had my camera and went back to the pictures. The chest markings say you are on to a juvenile raptor. This sent most of you thinking it was a young accipitor. The head shape and big bulging yellow eyes are the giveaway for a cuckoo hawk. The body shape is not quite right and the tail is also too short to be an accipiter. Interestingly, the other birds in the party weren’t the slightest bit interested in its presence…unlike with a sparrow hawk, you can hear the alarm calls :twisted: . Very well done to those of you who got it right!!!

4. African Goshawk
Image
Most guide books only show the male African Goshawk which has a grey back, and rufus bands on the chest. The female African Goshawk is brown on the back with brown bands. Greenish gray cere and yellow eye are the clinchers. Shame on the guidebooks for not showing a picture of the females :naughty: .

5. Forest Buzzard
Image
No problems here with my daily visitor to my garden in George… the champion of vlei rat catchers I must add!!!

6. Black kite (adult)
Image

A while ago I posted a picture of a kite that I took in Central Kalahari and posted it in a previous challenge. Image

A few of you said it was a juvenile yellow billed kite… which got me thinking, since I had never seen one before, and was not even aware that a kite with a black bill could also be a juvenile yellow billed kite, I started to doubt my ID. I did a lot more reading and discovered that the dominant race of kite in Botswana in summer is in fact yellow billed, outnumbering BK at a ratio of 1:500. The ratio is about 1:3 in NE SA. When I saw the current quiz bird rather late in summer, with a bill that appears to be going yellow at the base, I thought, oh well, probably a transitional juvenile yellow billed that some mites have mentioned before. Then I changed my mind about 15 times, as I went through every text on kites I could find, and about 100 pictures of varying reliability.

So herewith is the sum of my findings:
Both juvenile BK and YBK are difficult to distinguish, both have a black bill with a yellow cere and both have a streaked chest. The only difference mentioned in most text, are that the streaking in BK is more prominent than YBK, with the BK having a darker background with lighter streaks.

Black kite JuvenileImage

Black kite Juvenile Image

Yellow billed Kite (Juvenile)
Image

Yellow billed Kite (Juvenile)
Image

Now that we have the juveniles in their place, it seems that I messed up in the last quiz, as juvenile yellow billed kite is an exact match to the bird I posted :redface: :redface: :redface: . I offer sincere apologies to those that got it right, and sorry for the confusion caused :( . I hope this explanation makes it up.
Further to that, time of year plays some role in distinguishing the two. Apparently, time of year is important for YBK, as the birds breed in spring, and YBKs in juvenile plumage are not seen after January.

Now to move onto the bird I posted. The absence of pale streaking on the chest would suggest it is an adult bird. The partially yellow bill is not necessarily a feature of YBK , and can be seen in BK as per the next picture, which incidentally matches quite well with my bird.

Black kite adult Image

Features of BK would include:
1. Black bill
2. Shallow fork in the tail (YBK is deeper) see the flight pictures. (this can be misleading depending on time of moult)
3. Dark patch extending behind the eye
4. Too late in season for jvl YBK
5. Grey head (hard to see from the picture)

So, black kite it is.

I have certainly learned a lot here. Some taxonomist might suggest that we would all be right, as they are the same species. They were recently separated, as the yellow billed is an inter-African breeding migrant and the black kite is a Palearctic breeding migrant. Since they do not interbreed, the gene pools of these groups have been separated for some time, and through drift over time and local adaptation/ selection, they have diverged enough for some scientists (taxonomists) to call them separate species.

7. Lizard Buzzard
Image
No problems with this one. I threw him in to bait the last question :twisted: .

8. Amur Falcon (female)
Image
No problems with this one, red feet are the clincher...but what is it eating?

9. Although the guide books say they feed mainly on grasshoppers and other insects. I have often seen them take on newly fledged seed eaters on the Highveld. Young birds are a doddle for these nimble raptors to catch, as they are all quite uncoordinated and inexperienced. In this case it was a juvenile red collared widow. Seen by brown bill and buff edges on the feathers with black underneath… a lot of knowledge of what was fledging at the time helped me to narrow my list considerably. The longer tail would rule out the bishops. Sorry for this one :redface: :redface: . It was way too hard.

10. Which of these raptors is most likely to catch and eat chameleons?
If you got cuckoo hawk right, this would be easy to look up or vice versa. Either way, the principal diet of cuckoo hawk is chameleons and green insects. I guess that explains the big eyes… all the better to see you with :shock: . It was seen in a forest patch on the garden route where my kids love looking for chameleons, and explains why we didn’t see any that day :roll: .

Thanks for entering and I hope you enjoy the next one.

Read more about:

1. White-backed Vulture
2. Cape Vulture
3. African Cuckoo Hawk
4. African Goshawk
5. Forest Buzzard
6. Black Kite unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
7. Lizard Buzzard
8. Amur Falcon


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:42 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:18 am
Posts: 275
And now the answers to challenge #37…

16 entries with an average score of 6.5.

1. African Cuckoo
Image
I had no idea this bird could cause so many problems when I posted it. The picture below is the frame I took before it flew off, and shows it clearly to be an African cuckoo, grey back, yellow eye ring and yellow base to the bill. In hindsight, I realise that none of the guides would ever show a cuckoo at that angle, and I think for good reason: The feathers of many birds are often two toned, usually different colour edges, and when viewed under different conditions, they reveal different colours, sometimes emphasising the edge colour (e.g. when wet, or when the bird is hot and the feathers flat) and sometimes when the bird is warm, or fluffed out, the base colour is more visible compared to the tips. In this case the white is over emphasised as the base colour. With such small bits of info, most mites called this one a thick billed cuckoo. Only two mites got this one right.
Image

2. Forest Canary
Image
No problems here.

3. Red-eye dove (juvenile)
Image
This is a juvenile bird as told from the plumage. eyes are pale, and will develop the red colour with age. Most got this one.

4. Eurasian Cuckoo (Hepatic form )
Image
I thought this would be the bogey bird for this challenge, but most of you nailed it good and proper. It is a rare colour morph of the common cuckoo found in some females, called the Hepatic form. So named because the colouring resembles that of liver.

5. Southern Tchagra
Image
No problems here. The location (De Hoop NP) would have be a give-away (Sorry Micetta).

6. Caspian tern
Image
Generally, I hate tern ID. This one had me going for a while, as it is a non-breeding bird, so it does not have a typical full black cap as depicted in the guides, but has a grey crown with a black line through it (mentioned in the text). Largest of the terns with a big red bill are the clinchers.

7. Little Swift
Image
Few problems are here. White rump and short unforked tail.

8. Wood sandpiper
Image
I thought the lack of a distinct white eyebrow on this individual would baffle the mites, as this is quite diagnostic. Bur only one mite fell for that one. Other pics of the same bird had a more typical eyebrow, so perhaps he was frowning at me. Most got it right.

Bonus questions:
9. Which of these bird species pictured has the widest global distribution?
Image
I think all of you got the other species as being house sparrow (female). The house sparrow has a greater range than the rock pigeon, and has managed to colonise a wider range of latitudes, such as most of the tropics and the arctic (there is a colony of them Iceland…BRRRR) I don’t think there is a single country were I have not seen them before.

10. The Common mynah and Common starling made it onto the world’s 100 most invasive species list. Which other bird made it onto this list?
Despite baiting question 10 with 9 :twisted: , almost all of you got this right (Yay Google) I have always maintained that bulbuls share a lot in common with humans... they are generalist, omnivores and can live on almost anything, and are quite intelligent, constantly changing strategies to find food. Probably the only reason why most of us have not heard of this species, is that our own bulbuls are more than capable of looking after themselves, and are unlikely to be threatened by this invader.

Enjoy Mathew's challenge. It looks like a good one :D

Read more about:

1. African Cuckoo
2. Forest Canary unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
3. Red-eyed Dove
4. Eurasian Cuckoo unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
5. Southern Tchagra unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
6. Caspian Tern
7. Little Swift
8. Wood Sandpiper


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:48 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger

Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 6:37 pm
Posts: 343
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Hi everyone
Here are the answers for challenge #38

Overall the scores were pretty good with an average of 4.9/7, or 70.2%.

1.
Image
Grey-backed Cisticola - Most of you never had any problems with this one. This Cisticola has streaking on the breast so should only be between Wailing, Cloud and Grey-backed. The tail is too long for Cloud, and Cloud has a streaked, not rufous crown. Wailing has more warm buff underparts, whereas this bird has greyish underparts. The only Cisticola with streaked, greyish underparts is Grey-backed Cisticola. This photo was taken at Rooi Els, Western Cape.

2.
Image
Little Bittern (juv) - This one gave quite a few problems. Some people said Eurasian (Great) Bittern, but that is a much bigger looking bird with clear, conspicuous moustachial stripes. It also has a much more heavily marked back, and also you would never see a Eurasian Bittern perched out in the open like this. They always remain in very dense reeds. It's also not a juv Green-backed Heron, which is not marked on the back like this bird, and is much darker in colour. Photo taken in Nylsvlei NR, Limpopo.

3.
Image
Southern Black Flycatcher - No problems here. I though I could catch some of you by hiding the tail, but you were all too smart. Photo taken at Crocodile Bridge, Kruger NP

4.
Image
Pallid Harrier (juv) - This one was quite tricky. Most of you at least put it in the Harrier family, which is good, but here is where it gets tough, because juvenile Harriers are notoriously difficult to ID. First of all it can't be African Marsh Harrier, as that has fully barred underwings, and it can't be Western Marsh Harrier, as that has no barring on the underwings. It's also the wrong colour for both the Marsh Harriers. Next it can't be a juv Black Harrier, because that has distinct black streaking on its breast. That leaves us with the Ring-tail Harriers, which is a term that refers to female and juv Montagu's, Pallid and Hen Harrier (which we won't consider here, as you don't get it in Southern Africa). The first thing to do when dealing with Ring-tail Harriers is to put it into an age group, and see if we are dealing with an adult female, or a juvenile bird. Adult female Montagu's and Pallids have streaking underneath, so we are therefore dealing with a juvenile bird here. Some field guides mention the amount of bars on the tail as a distinguishing factor, but this rule is inaccurate and must be ignored. Two distinguishing characteristics that make this a juvenile Pallid as opposed to Montagu's include; the pale collar, and also the fact that the barring goes all the way to the end of the primaries, whereas juvenile Montagu's only has minimal barring on the primaries that doesn't extend all the way to the tips of the wings. Photo taken on H10, Kruger NP.

5.
Image
Spike-heeled Lark - No problems here, everyone got this one. The combination of the long, decurved bill and short, white-tipped tail are the clincher here. I thought I might catch some of you by having a picture of it perched in a tree, because this bird is a ground dwelling species and very rarely perches in trees and bushes. Photo taken in Karoo NP.

6.
Image
Lesser Masked Weaver - Also not many problems here. The combination of the slender, flesh-coloured bill, pale eye and greyish legs mean this can only be Lesser Masked Weaver. Photo taken at Lower Sabie Kruger NP.

7.
Image
Long-billed Pipit - This bird caused the most problems. I think maybe I was a bit too mean by not posting a picture that shows the bird's back, as a lot of people answered with Plain-backed or Buffy Pipit, but then it might have been a bit too easy. I am happy that none of you answered African Pipit, as there are a lot of reasons why it can't be that. A lot of people answered Buffy Pipit, but that is a much more slender, dainty looking Pipit, the same size and shape as African Pipit, whereas this bird is too heavy looking to be Buffy. Buffy Pipit also stands much more upright, and carries its weight in its chest, unlike this bird. Buffy would also have a more distinct buffy supercilium. A lot of you also answered Plain-backed Pipit, but that has a yellowish base to the bill (although this isn't a 100% accurate feature to use when identifying Pipits). Plain-backed also has a more well defined malar stripe and whitish supercilium. Plain-backed also has a colder grey-brown colouring. The fact that it's perched up should also give a clue to this being Long-billed, as this is one of the characteristic behaviours of Long-billed Pipit. The combination of the very robust build, very weak supercilium, weak facial markings and pinkish mandible all point towards Long-billed Pipit. Photo taken in Pilanesberg GR.

Cheers
Matt

Read more about:

1. Grey-backed Cisticola
2. Little Bittern
3. Southern Black Flycatcher
4. Pallid Harrier
5. Spike-heeled Lark
6. Lesser masked-Weaver
7. Long-billed Pipit


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:17 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:44 pm
Posts: 467
Location: Far away from Home....
Good Evening Everyone.

Here are the results for challenge 39#

We had a total of 13 participants which is a little low, but judging by the marks it couldn't have been to difficult! Right? :| The average was 83.85%!

2 Mites got 6/10
2 Mites got 7/10
3 Mites got 8/10
1 Mite got 9/10

and Ladybirder, Jakkie Human, Dugong, Muturashanga and Dabchick got Full marks!

OK so here goes:

Challenge #39
1.
Image
African Hawk Eagle: 9/13 I thought with the angle of the photo I would throw a few people. It couldn't have been a Marsh harrier as the tail is to short. A long crested Eagle has a dark body and wings with barring on the secondaries in the under wing. A Ayre's Hawk eagle will not show wing panels on the upper wing. The clincher here is definately the combination of the upper wing panels with white secondaries and primaries on the under wing. The black trailing edge to the wings is also a good pointer. Then if you look closely the streaking on the chest stops at the chest and the thighs and flanks are clean white! I agree from the photo it was difficult to judge between Eagle and buzzard but not impossible! :)
2.
Image
Pygmy Kingfisher. 13/13 No problems here...not even with the fact that I posted a pic near water! Well done you guys are awake!
3.
Image
Short Clawed Lark. 6/13 Ok this was the toughest bird in the list. So why a short clawed Lark? It's got a very long bill. This should narrow your choice down to 7 species. The combination of broad white supercilium, odd back markings, clean flanks, streaked chest and back color points to short clawed lark! This bird was seen in Botsalano near Mafikeng.
4.
Image
Swamp NightJar. 11/13 WOW well done . This one was not easy as well. Everyone got the family right. Very good. Then the white outer tail feather combined with the very light brown wings with white spots on the wing make it distinct. The only confusion could be with Square Tailed but they are generally darker in appearance and lacks the cream/white markings below the eye.
5.
Image
Yellow Throated Petronia. 12/13 I think this was clear. The broad white supercilium and lack of streaking with yellow throat patch are key. Lemon Breasted canary lacks the Supercilium.
6.
Image
Collared Pratincole. 13/13 No problems here.
7.
Image
Whimbrel. 13/13 All clear
8.
Image
Barred Wren Warbler. 11/13 Ok was a tricky angle on the photo. The leg color of grey and the eye color should have clenched this I.D Sterlings has flesh colored legs!
9.
Image
Whiskered Tern. Trans. 8/13 This bird also caused problems. Terns are difficult. The dark red Legs and bill are key here as both Arctic and Antarctic have bright red legs in Br. Also the bill is very heavy compared to the other Terns. The grey throat should have ruled out Roseate Tern. I would also struggle if I didn't take this pick at Marivale...
10.
Image
Sedge Warbler. 12/13 This warbler seemed to be easy for everyone. The white supercilium and streaking on head was the give away I think!

Well done everyone. Looks like I need to retire as I cannot catch you guys out! :thumbs_up: :dance: :clap:

Read more about:

1. African Hawk-Eagle
2. Pygmy Kingfisher unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
3. Short-clawed Lark unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
4. Swamp Nightjar
5. Yellow-throated Petronia
6. Collared Pratincole
7. Common Whimbrel
8. Barred Wren-Warbler unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
9. Whiskered Tern
10. Sedge Warbler

_________________
Stiffneck on the loose.....
Latest Lifer:= Shelley's Francolin; Flappet Lark.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:29 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:44 pm
Posts: 467
Location: Far away from Home....
Good Afternoon Everyone.

Ok first off I need to apologies for bird number 3. I tried to I.D it myself on Thursday night and realized it is almost impossible with such a small photo! When I posted I knew what it was so I never even thought about someone looking at this bird for the first time! :big_eyes: It was really unfair one everyone and I apologies if I have cause someone frustration and wanting to give up on the challenge. Lizet will do a much better challenge! :thumbs_up: I still think it is a cool platform to learn. I will do my best at explaining the results…… :slap:
Having said that 15 mites still entered the challenge, and thank you all for the participation. Makes the writing up of the answers worth it!
That gives #40 an average result of: 68.677% . Still not bad considering the really tough challenge.
1 mite scored 4/10
3 mites scored 5/10
1 mite scored 6/10
4 mites scored 7/10
4 mites scored 8/10
2 mites scored 9/10.

No one with 100% this time….

Here we go for Challenge #40:
1.
Image
(15/15) Cape Weaver. No problems here. Everyone nail this guy.
2.
Image
15/15 Greater Blue Eared Starling. I thought this one would catch some of you but you guys are all very observant! Well done.
3.
Image
1/15 Greater Sand Plover. Ok my apologies on this pic. It was very difficult. Everyone who said Lesser Sand Plover can give themselves a pat on the back. It wasn’t your fault. Unfortunately the differences between Greater and Lesser are in the minor details: Allow me to expand on this: (Info gleamed from *Identification, taxonomy and distribution of Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers by Erik Hirschfeld, C.S Roselaar and Hadoram Shirihai*). *Seperating these two species is very tricky, especially if one hasn’t seen the species in real life as some of the sub-species have morphological similarities. The most important field characteristics to look out for are: Bill shape; wing bar; sub terminal tail-bar; and length of nail on bill. All other features can only really be seen as supporting evidence. It became clear to me at this point that I had just posted the worst possible photo to illustrate these points! Epic Fail… Generally the Greater Sand plover looks more bulky than Lesser Sand Plover which is a more delicate bird. Usually GSP has greenish grey legs and LSP dark black.GSP has a heavier and longer bill that tapers to a sharp point, and LSP has a more blunt tip and shorter bill. A clenching feature that I saw on this bird which was seen in Cape st. François was in flight and I didn’t use that pic…. Nough said. In flight the white primary bar on the wing bulges out to the end in GSP and is a straight line in LSP. This is a crucial difference besides the fact that GSP the toes stick out behind the tail and in LSP they end with the tail. Due to copy write violations I didn’t want to risk showing other peoples photo’s as I don’t have a LSP pic! But I have added the GSP pic for interest sake!
4.
Image
9/15 Caspian Plover. I see this bird caused more problems than excepted. From the picture the bird does give the feel of a large size with it’s long legs. The yellowish colour of the legs was a little misleading as I saw the bird in early November and It was possibly still changing into full Non Br. plumage. The big white supercilium and head length pointed bill are very important I.D’s. A subtle clue also is that the feathers on its back, (mantle feathers) give a scaled appearance due to the buffy edging!
5.
Image
14/15 Black Crowned Night Heron Juv. Straight forward I think.
6.
Image
7/15 Lesser Kestrel F. WOW when I posted this pic I didn’t think it would cause so many headaches! I can see why everyone else said Red Footed Falcon. Really thanks for trying to get me one more Lifer! :whistle: :) I think the biggest key here is the little bit of wing sticking out on the left showing a brown wing and not dark grey! A visible malar stripe and lighter chest distinguish it from Red Footed falcon Female.
7.
Image
15/15 Dark Chanting Goshawk. Well done! No one confused it with SPCG! Impressive. :thumbs_up:
8.
Image
7/15 Bateleur Juv. This was a surprise. Most people said hooded vulture here. I can see the resemblance with the possible two toned under-wing, but this is where the resemblance stops. The very short tail and the feathers on the head should exclude brown vultures in this case. A hooded vulture would be devoid of feathers till the neck region. The Pale skin in this case is classic Juv Bateleur. They only become adults after 7-8 years. The head is also to bulky for a hooded vulture.
11/15 Tawny Eagle. Ok the brown Eagle complex is always a difficult one so congrats if you I.D this as an eagle due to the feathered Tarsis and big bill with dark eye color. The light color and slight streaking on the breast, combined with light colored secondary’s and primaries exclude most of the rarer eagles in the brown eagle complex. The Juv Steppe Eagle would have a white line between the underwing coverts and the flight feathers. This bird also shows a somewhat light panel between primaries and secondary’s.

9.
Image
9/15 Pale crowned Cisticola. I was surprised with your answers here. Very well done. A big clue here was the barbed wire fence! If you noticed the size of the barbs compared to the bird you would have known you are looking for a very small bird! You needed to arrive at the cisticola family, the rest is easy! :lol: :roll: Again the fence is the key. Look at the short tail of the bird. This already reduces the cisticola family to 6 options. Namely the short tailed with streaked back group of Cisticolas. The dark lores and very pale crown are the clinchers here as this bird was in breeding plumage.


Well done to everyone and all the best for Lizet’s challenge. 8)

Read more about:

1. Cape Weaver
2. Greater Blue-eared Starling
3. Greater Sand Plover unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
4. Caspian Plover
5. Black-crowned Night-Heron
6. Lesser Kestrel
7. Dark Chanting Goshawk
8. Bateleur
9. Pale-crowned Cisticola

_________________
Stiffneck on the loose.....
Latest Lifer:= Shelley's Francolin; Flappet Lark.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 142 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ... 10  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Tokmino, Trevor Hardaker, umtali1 and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Sebakwe at 14:16:44 Submitted by avidspotter at 11:15:18 Submitted by Trudie at 13:00:58 Submitted by Ellies at 20:13:40