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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:27 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Here with the results of the challenge. Thank you to all those who participated. :clap:

#1 Cape Wagtail -juvenile
Image
This seemed like a normal cape wagtail when I was taking the pictures, but when I got home I realised there was something funky about it. The colouring was a bit off, including the yellow around the knees. I almost got all excited that it may be something different, but alas, if you look carefully there is a yellow gape at the base of the bill which would make it a juvenile, and explain the “odd” appearance. A juvenile pied wagtail would have more white on the wing covets.

#2 African Marsh Harrier
Image
No problems here.

#3 Speckled Pigeon
Image
This particular bird got stuck in the chimney a few days before X-mass, hence the capture and close up macro picture…I wish I had a telephoto lens to get that kind of detail from wild birds :wall: . I told the kids it was Santa’s scout, to check that the chimney was OK to slide down! :twisted: He was released safely to the wild. :)

#4 Cape Longclaw
Image
The yellow face markings and white tail tips in flight are very diagnostic for the longclaws. A broader more orange than yellow eyebrow separate it from yellow throated long claw.

#5 Little Rush Warbler
Image
Most got this. In the field this warbler is fairly easily separated by the dark chocolate wash. And I love that cruck, cruck…stick on a picket fence call.

#6 Somber Bulbul
Image
A difficult bird, even with a front view. Many got this one, as the grey olive green colour is in fact quite diagnostic if you are familiar with this species.

#7 Black Headed Canary (female)
Image
Hell, this caused a lot of problems. I figured out why, as the field guides (Newmans, Roberts and Sasol) images for this species are horrid. :wall: :wall: If you check the thickness of the wire relative the size of the bird, you will realise it is tiny.

#8 Karoo Koorhan
Image
No problems here.

#9 Layard’s Titbabler
Image
A cryptic dry land special, as it tends to stay hidden in the middle of the little Karoo bushes. Most got it as a tit-babbler. The habitat preference of Karoo shrub rather than acacia woodland is a clue that it is not a chestnut vented.

#10 Lark like bunting
Image
Most got this.

Huntsman gets the prize for the best caption… :lol: :lol: :lol: :congrats: !!!!!!!

Read more about:

1. Cape Wagtail
2. African Marsh-Harrier
3. Speckled Pigeon
4. Cape Longclaw
5. Little Rush Warbler
6. Sombre Bulbul unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
7. Black-headed Canary
8. Karoo Korhaan
9. Layard's Tit-Babbler unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
10. Lark-like Bunting


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:19 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 343
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Here are the answers to challenge #4.

The average score was 5.52/8 or 69%. Well done to adrianp and Ladybirder for getting full marks :clap:

1. Black-backed Puffback (immature)
Image
This one caused quite a few problems. I think the orange wash underneath threw a lot of people off. The shape, black cap and white-tipped wing feathers all point towards Puffback. The females and youngsters have a grey, not black back, and it's more grey in the young birds. I think the orange is what confused everyone here, as none of our field guides really illustrate this feature properly (or at all). Roberts describes the immature as having orange-buff underparts. This was the most orange I've ever seen on an immature Puffback though. (picture taken: Tuli Block, Botswana)

2. Black-throated Canary (male)
Image
Not too many problems here. The shape, size and bill shape puts this as a seed-eater. The shape, and colouring are wrong for most other seed-eaters, except the Canaries. This is a nice male which shows the distinct black throat where this bird gets its name from. (photo taken: Marievale Bird Snactuary, Gauteng)

3. Sabota Lark
Image
I tried to maybe catch some of you out by showing it uncharacteristically sitting on the floor, as 90% of the time Sabotas perch on trees or shrubs. Most of you never fell for it and got it. Almost everyone put it in the Lark family, and the well-marked back, well-defined white supercilium and malar stripe, and the breast streaking make this Sabota. Dusky would have a much more plainly marked back, and Large-billed would have a yellow base to the bill and much more streaking underneath going all the way to the flanks. (Photo taken: S44, Kruger National Park)

4. Red-billed Quelea (non-br Male)
Image
Quite a straight-forward ID here. The only other candidates with a heavy red bill include Pin-tailed and Shaft-tailed Whydah, and Village Indigobird. All three of those have more markings on the head than this. (Photo taken: Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana)

5. Buff-streaked Chat (female)
Image
This was quite a tricky one, and I was impressed by how many of you got it! I think a big clue here was the habitat, as boulder-strewn slopes is typical habitat for this species. Most of our field guides don't illustrate female Buff-streaked Chat so accurately. The buff underparts and rump, dark tail with no traces of white, very faintly streaked breast and greyish supercilium all point to female Buff-streaked Chat. (Photo taken: Dullstroom)

6. Golden-tailed Woodpecker (male)
Image
This one's not too tough if you just put all the pieces together. It can't be Knysna, Bennett's, Speckle-throated, or Green-backed as those are all have spotted, not streaked underparts. Bearded can be eliminated for several reasons, including grey underparts and broad black malar stripes and cheeks. This leaves Cardinal and Golden-tailed. I think everyone said one of these two species. It can't be Cardinal as that has a a more distinct malar stripe which is also black, not red, and Cardinal also has a plainer face than this . This leaves Golden-tailed, which fits with everything: Small red malar stripe, fully red head, streaked breast and streaked face. (Photo taken: Tshokwane, Kruger National Park)

7. Ovambo Sparrowhawk (female, sub-adult, pale form)
Image
Accipiters are usually quite tough, especially when dealing with young birds, but the combination of the barring going all the way up to the throat, orange-ish cere, dark red-brown eye all point towards Ovambo Sparrowhawk. (Photo taken: Vlaklaagte, MP)

8. Bushveld Pipit
Image
I though this one would be tough, but most of you nailed it! I'm impressed. A small compact pipit, with basically no facial markings or supercilium, and not streaked enough to be Striped, Tree or Short-tailed. Not the right shape or colouring to be any of the larger Pipits. (Photo taken: North-eastern Gauteng)

Hope you all had fun, and maybe even learned a thing or two :D

Regards
Matt

Read more about:

1. Black-backed Puffback
2. Black-throated Canary
3. Sabota Lark
4. Red-billed Quelea
5. Buff-streaked Chat
6. Golden-tailed Woodpecker
7. Ovambo Sparrowhawk
8. Bushveld Pipit


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:35 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Award: Birder of the Year (2013)
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
Posts: 5297
Location: Chasing down the rarities
I am really sorry that I have unleashed a very tough challenge on you lot. :twisted: :twisted:

I received very interesting answers. Some of the most difficult id's were made and some of the easier ones were missed. You are getting there quite quickly. Well done to everyone who took this one on. :thumbs_up:

The easiest bird was #1. Everyone got it correct.
The most difficult bird was #8. No one nailed that one.

Herewith the answers then.

#1. Mosque Swallow. White throat differentiates it from the similar Red-breasted Swallow.

#2. Sickle-winged Chat. The salmon coloured rump rules out Familiar chat.

#3. Terrestrial Brownbul, white throat, dark cheek and white eye ring were the diagnostics on this bird.

#4. Knysna Warbler

#5. Lark-like Bunting - it looks like a lark and a bunting, hence Lark-like Bunting :lol: :lol:

#6. Purple-banded Sunbird. Less decurved and shorter bill than Marico Sunbird and a narrower purple band.

#7. Croaking Cisticola, heavy thick bill rules out Rattling Cisticola.

#8. African Goshawk - young bird. The dark vertical stripe on the throat was a giveaway. :wink:

#9. Caspian Plover non breeding.

#10. Lesser Spotted Eagle, the tightly feathered tarsi (lower legs) and yellow eye ruled out Tawny Eagle and Wahlberg's Eagle.

Read more about:

1. Mosque Swallow
2. Sickle-winged Chat
3. Terrestrial Brownbul
4. Knysna Warbler
5. Lark-like Bunting
6. Purple-banded Sunbird
7. Croacking Cisticola
8. African Goshawk
9. Caspian Plover
10. Lesser-spotted Eagle

_________________
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Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 5297
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Answers for Challenge #6/2013

1. Immature African Hawk-Eagle
Image

2. non-breeding Black-necked Grebe
Image

3. Forest Buzzard
Image

4. immature Greater Flamingoes
Image

5. Olive Sunbird
Image

6. Rattling Cisticola
Image

7. Red-faced Cisticola
Image

8. Southern Tchagra
Image

9. Taita Falcon
Image

10. Yellow-throated Longclaw
Image

Read more about:

1. African Hawk-Eagle
2. Black-necked Grebe
3. Forest Buzzard
4. Greater Flamingo
5. Olive Sunbird
6. Rattling Cisticola
7. Red-faced Cisticola
8. Southern Tchagra unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
9. Taita Falcon unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
10. Yellow-throated Longclaw

_________________
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Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:38 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Answers to #7/2013

1. Buffy Pipit
Image

2. Cape Vulture
Image

3. Icterine Warbler
Image

4. Red-winged Francolin
Image

5. Sanderling
Image

6. Saddle-billed Stork
Image

7. Melodious Lark
Image

8. Whiskered Tern
Image

9. Yellow-billed Stork
Image

10. Green Sandpiper
Image

Read more about:

1. Buffy Pipit
2. Cape Vulture
3. Icterine Warbler
4. Red-winged Francolin
5. Sanderling
6. Saddle-billed Stork
7. Melodious Lark
8. Whiskered Tern
9. Yellow-billed Stork
10. Green Sandpiper

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Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:35 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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:lol: :lol:

I've got a problem with the "yellow-billed" part of the answer also :twisted: :twisted: ...

The gape extents to behind the eye, which makes it a Great egret, not yellow-billed :wink:


Last edited by Dabchick on Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:19 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Seems like quite a few people are questioning the id on the Egret. :lol:

My opinion is that the neck is not long and slender enough and the "S" is not pronounced enough for Great Egret. Furthermore the bill is also not heavy enough for Great Egret.

Great Egret
Image

Egret in question
Image

Would like to hear your comments. :wink:

_________________
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Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:35 am 
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WTM

We're all having a bit of fun at what is obviously a typo.

Did you mean to call it a Yellow-billed Stork? :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 9:46 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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I am not the sharpest on a Friday, Huntsman. It is not a Stork, it is indeed an egret! :lol: :lol:

_________________
656
Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:17 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Award: Birder of the Year (2013)
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 10:27 am
Posts: 5297
Location: Chasing down the rarities
The answers to #8/2013


1. African Black Swift
Image

2. Corn Crake
Image

3. Denham's Bustard
Image

4. Franklin's Gull
Image

5. Great Sparrow
Image

6. Grey Plover
Image

7. Long-billed Pipit
Image

8. Montagu's Harrier
Image

9. Protea Seed-eater
Image

10. White-fronted Bee-eater
Image[/quote]

Read more about:

1. African Black Swift
2. Corn Crake
3. Denham's Bustard
4. Franklin's Gull unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
5. Great Sparrow
6. Grey Plover
7. Long-billed Pipit
8. Montagu's Harrier
9. Protea Seedeater unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
10. White-fronted Bee-eater

_________________
656
Latest Lifer(s): White-winged Flufftail, Dickinson's Kestrel, Senegal Coucal, Three-banded Courser, African Broadbill, Thrush Nightingale, Rufous-bellied Heron.

Follow me as I bird on Twitter @wildtuinman


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:43 am 
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A very quiet week…. Less than 10 entries. I think my cisticola scared everybody away. Well done to Ladybirder with a top score of 9/10!!! :clap: :clap: :clap: :dance: :dance:
#1 Juvenile Little Grebe (Dabchick)
Image
#2 Victorin’s warbler (everybody got this!!)
Image
#3 Orange Breasted Sunbird (Female)
Image
#4 Juvenile helmeted guineafowl
Image
I was surprised how many got this common species wrong… I guess the adults are quite good at hiding the youngsters before they are big enough to take out in the open.
#5 Cape Spurfowl
Image
#6 Booted eagle (pale morph)
Image
#7 Pearl Breasted Swallow (one of the hardest)
Image

This one had me going for a while, as it displayed typical barn swallow behaviour such as sitting on the dirt roads in overcast conditions (why do they do that????) and by association with Barn Swallows. I almost dismissed it as a juvenile Barn Swallow, if it were not for the fact that there was something not quite right about it.
Image
You can see in the above picture there is one pearl breasted swallow among the group of barn swallows.
Image

After looking at the next picture, then penny dropped. I initially dismissed the whole lot as barn swallows based on the behaviour, but when I reviewed the pictures I put 2 +2 together, and realised that the Karoo is “the spot” for Pearl breasted swallows. This picture was taken along the river just outside Oudshoorn.
#8 Common fiscal juvenile
Image
#9 Zitting Cisticola (sorry nobody got this :redface: )
Image
My apologies for this one, I tried to put in a sound clip, but my IT skills let me down here. If you got this down to a short tailed cisticola, then that is about as close as you will get on physical features. You need the call to nail it down 100%. By the way it was singing its head off while I took this.
#10 White Throated Swallow Image
The best captions:
“UNFAIR!!! Where’s MINE?”
“DAD!!! He’s choking!!”

Read more about:

1. Little Grebe
2. Victorin's Warbler
3. Orange-breasted Sunbird
4. Helmeted Guineafowl
5. Cape Spurfowl
6. Booted Eagle
7. Pearl-breasted Swallow
8. Common Fiscal
9. Zitting Cisticola
10. White-throated Swallow


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 9:43 am 
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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: 2334
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
hilda wrote:
Since most 'mites have full time jobs, it could be better if they have more time for the challenges! What do you think? :)


Speaking from past experience, it takes far more time and energy to set the challenge and and compose a meaningful feedback post than any of the participating 'mites can expend in their answers. Getting the number of participants up is important to show the challenge master that his / her efforts are appreciated, for one. The other major reason is our shared passion for birding and our compulsion to share and have this wonderful activity grow.

:lol: Just threaten to stop and you’ll see the numbers bounce back! :twisted:

On a serious note: On previous occasions when interest flagged, all the dedicated participants went out and canvassed to get their mates involved. We also have record of who participated previously and a gentle PM to nudge them awake may be all that is required. :wink:

Because you have managed so very competently to spread the work load, Hilda, I personally don't think the frequency of posts matters one way or another. In fact, bi-weekly may have the reverse effect to that which we desire, namely to get the participation numbers up.

I will keenly be watching to see how this unexpected problem is solved...

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:20 am 
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MattAxel wrote:
Hilda I think chellenges every second week might be a good idea.


Johan van Rensburg wrote:
I personally don't think the frequency of posts matters one way or another. In fact, bi-weekly may have the reverse effect to that which we desire, namely to get the participation numbers up.


Two contradictory answers from two of our ornothologists on the forum! :doh:

Let's not act precipitately, and see how it goes in the next few challenges. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:16 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 275
I agree, a small prize will encourage participation. I don't think it should come from SANPARKS itself. I think they have bigger things to worry about like saving Rhino's and other stuff. Also government inertia may be an issue.

You would probably get a quicker response from a commercial enterprise. Something like the "Sasol/Anglo/MTN? monthly birding challenge", up the prestige, where they can sponsor a book prize each month. Perhaps a choice of book, since some of us seem to own most of them :mrgreen:

I think there are a lot interest groups that may consider sponsoring such an event.

E.g. cell phone operators... think of all the bandwidth they generate from forum interest. Prize of airtime vouchers or something.

Industrial corporates trying to get a greener image :hmz:

Accomodation vendors, Protea Hotels?

Outdoor Photo vouchers? A lot of the pictures on this forum must come from the use of their gear, and many of their customers are birders/wild card holders.

Or Bells can sponsor some hip flasks for day trips to Kruger :whistle: :twisted:


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 Post subject: Re: Bird ID Challenge.
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:54 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 343
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Here are the answers to challenge #10 of 2013

Thank you to all of you who made an effort and took part, and a big well done to Ladybirder for getting full marks. :clap:

The average score was 5.18/8 or 64.78%

#1
Image
White-winged Tern - No problems here, everyone nailed this one. Well done! Photo taken at Mkhombo Dam, Mpumalanga

#2
Image
Cuckoo Finch - Overall yellow colour, with small tail. Back markings aren't correct for any of the weavers or Canaries. Photo taken at Vlaklaagte, Mpumalanga

#3
Image
Cape Rock Thrush (female) – Almost everyone got that it was one of the Rock Thrushes, but a lot of people didn't get it down to the correct species. Female Short-toed has a conspicuous white throat patch, and the markings on the throat of female Sentinel fade into the orange on the breast. Photo taken at Suikerbosrand, Gauteng

#4
Image
Wahlberg's Eagle - I tried to make it a bit difficult by using an underexposed photo so the coulours are a bit harder to make out. This is to show that when IDing raptors size and shape can often be more important than the colouring. Wahlberg's has a very distinct flight shape where it keeps its tail in a rectangular shape instead of fanned out, and also has very straight wings. All of you did really well here. Photo taken at Mabusa, Mpumalanga.

#5
Image
Buffy Pipit - This one caused quite a few problems. This is a very weirdly coloured Buffy Pipit, which is usually more sandy brown than this. This individual is in worn plumage, which makes it look like a darker grey-brown, more like the colour of Plain-backed Pipit. Good features to look at are the facial markings, because Plain-backed and Long-tailed have much more distinct superciliums and malar stripes than Buffy. This bird has basically no malar stripe, and a very weak buff supercilium. It also has a pinkish base to the bill, whereas Plain-backed usually has a more yellowish base (Note: Mandible colour should not be used alone as a distinguishing factor, but more of a guide, as light can sometimes manipulate the colour a bit.) Photo taken at Vlaklaagte, Mpumalaga.

#6
Image
Red-winged Francolin - No problems here, everyone got it. Photo taken at Dullstroom, Mpumalanga

#7
Image
Southern Banded Snake Eagle - This one was very tough, and only Ladybirder got it correct. Most people said an Accipiter of some sort, but the tail is too short, and the wing projections not long enough to be an Accipiter. It is also showing a slight crested appearance which is typical of Snake Eagles. Cuckoo-Hawk also has a slight crest, but Cuckoo-Hawk perches on really short legs, with only its feet visible, and its wing tips extend almost to the end of the tail. The white tips on the primaries also point towards Southern Banded Snake Eagle. Photo taken at Bonamanzi, KZN.

#8
Image
Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark (female) - Chestnut coloured upperparts, and dark belly patch are diagnostic. Photo taken at Satara, Kruger National Park.

Read more about:

1. White-winged Tern
2. Cuckoo Finch
3. Cape Rock-Thrush
4. Wahlberg's Eagle
5. Buffy Pipit
6. Red-winged Francolin
7. Southern Banded Snake Eagle
8. Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.


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