Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 1 of 9
 [ 123 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 9  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Cisticola, Rattling Cisticola
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 4:50 pm 
Offline
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 8:29 am
Posts: 939
Location: Stuck in Gauteng
What is this? I've got no idea. Not a brilliant photo, didn't want to keep still for even 1/2 second. Seen on the H10 near Muntshe wh.
Image

Different angle on the bird, maybe better for ID :?:

Image
Image

Was the size of a Cape Glossy Starling, just a bit skinnier :?:

_________________
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Albert Einstein

Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
Black Coucal Centropus grillii Swartvleiloerie
Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea Laeveldklappertjie


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Bird ID
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:20 pm 
Offline
Guru
Guru
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:34 am
Posts: 185
The bird in question is a rattling cisticola, one of the commonest birds of the Kruger bushveld. The russet crown is a give away. The back colour is very variable in this species and there are different subspecies. Birds in the park will get more black in their back than this bird when they are breeding, but the grey brown back infused with black is typical of this species.

The shape, colouration and posture of the bird and length of tail are all wrong for a pipit. Kruger is not ideal pipit habitat.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Cisticola: Rattling Cisticola
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2006 3:29 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Cornwall, UK
Image

I photographed this Cisticola at Shimuwini Bush-camp in Kruger N.P. in August. It was in and out of riverside vegetation. I didn't hear it call. By the plumage and stout bill I think it's probably Croaking Cisticola. Can anyone confirm please?

_________________
Andy


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:33 am 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 9:35 pm
Posts: 206
Location: dutch coast
We saw this bird near Berg en Dal. Does anyone have an idea what kind of bird this is? Thanks in advance.

Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:33 pm 
Offline
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:43 pm
Posts: 749
Location: Jo'burg
Anja wrote:
We saw this bird near Berg en Dal. Does anyone have an idea what kind of bird this is? Thanks in advance.


Welcome to the world of Cisticolas, the nemesis of many a birder! Cisticolas are readily identified on call and a right pain in the bum to identify visually. I do believe your's can be identified though.

First of all, you say you saw this bird near Berg-en-dal. That immediately elliminates a host of Cisticolas that just don't occur there. We are down to the following species:
Croaking Cisticola
Desert Cisticola
Lazy Cisticola
Levaillant's Cisticola
Rattling Cisticola
Red-faced Cisticola
Zitting Cisticola
Neddicky

We can immediately drop Zitting Cisticola and Desert Cisticola as they are part of the short-tailed complex (often called the aerial cisticolas) which are quite a bit different from the "regular" cisticolas which your bird is one of. The remaining candidates can be split into two groups, the streaky-backed cisticolas (Croaking, Levaillant's, Rattling) and the plain-backed cisticolas (Lazy, Red-faced, Neddicky). Your bird is obviously a streaky-back cisticola so we are down to three options.
Croaking Cisticola
Levaillant's Cisticola
Rattling Cisticola

The Croaking Cisticola can be elliminated based on the rufous crown, wing panels and tail that your bird shows. The Croaking Cisticola never shows any rufous tones. Also, the Croaking Cisticola has a heavy bill which this bird does not have.

So basically it is down to Rattling Cisticola or Levaillant's Cisticola (both of which have very distinctive calls - pity you didn't note that). Either way, there's still hope. The key features to look for now would be the colour and texture of the back and the crown. Both of the remaining candidates will show a reddish crown (which your bird clearly has) but the Rattling Cisticola has a greyish brown back with dusky streaks while the Levaillant's Cisticola has a black back with light greyish buff scaling.

I am pretty sure that your bird is a Rattling Cisticola (Cisticola chinianus). I would say the back (mantle) is enough to arrive at this conclusion already but there are also other signs such as the absence of black in the tail feathers, the throat that appears whiter than the rest of the underparts, etc.

Lovely picture by the way. Interesingly enough, at first upon noticing the habitat I wanted to jump to the conclusion of Levaillant's Cisticola. Rattling Cisticola's are mostly seen perched on the top of small trees from where they sing their little song for all the world to hear. They do forrage low down in the grass or on the ground which is when you must have snapped this one. All the more impressive to get such a clear shot. Well done.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:13 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: 2258
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
Deefstes, I AM impressed! The process of elimination seems to have worked so well here that I am going to apply the same logic to a couple of pix of Cisticolas that have been languishing in my "unidentified birds" folder for a while now. Sound, I know, plays a major role in the correct ID of Cisticolas and I have subsequently given up on their ID unless I bird with someone with a PDA to compare song.

Let me recap and see if I understand the process correctly:
1. Eliminate birds on distribution
2. Eliminate birds on tail-length feature
3. Eliminate birds on marked-back/plain-back split (I’ll have to investigate this one a bit!)
4. Check the rest for closest resemblance iro colour

I can imagine this process is not foolproof by any stretch (so this fool will have to be extra careful) but, at least someone has a system for Cisticolas that will help. Having followed your logic carefully with this bird I cannot help but to arrive at the same conclusion. I’ll post on my own results with your logic at another time!

Thanks for a great tip (I hope) :roll:

From the subsequent posts it is obvious that Cisticolas pose a great challenge to more that a few good birders. :twisted:

_________________
664 Latest lifer: Ovambo sparrowhawk


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:14 pm 
Offline
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:43 pm
Posts: 749
Location: Jo'burg
Obelix wrote:
We don't have one cisticola on our list yet (we do have one or two cisticolas in our "unknown" list though), but I'll now give them another go.


My best advice would be to get to know their calls. Cisticolas become very easy once you know their calls (which is really not as difficult as one might expect). Another thing that comes in very handy is a proper grasp of habitat preferences. Cisticolas are generally very habitat specific.

Have fun!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:25 pm 
Offline
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:43 pm
Posts: 749
Location: Jo'burg
Johan, I have to say that I am by no means a Cisticola expert. We were fortunate that Anja challenged us with a relatively easy Cisticola but let me assure you there are many Cisticolas which I ignore if I don't hear them call. In fact, I hardly evr even bther to identify an aerial cisticola if it's just sitting on a fence, not making a peep.

But yes, the proces of elimination seems to be a reasonable approach. Unfortunately the little blighters don't always sit around patiently waiting for you to run through your elimiation list :evil:

Johan van Rensburg wrote:
Let me recap and see if I understand the process correctly:
1. Eliminate birds on distribution
2. Eliminate birds on tail-length feature
3. Eliminate birds on marked-back/plain-back split (I’ll have to investigate this one a bit!)
4. Check the rest for closest resemblance iro colour


Just a word or two about this list. In between number 1 and 2 I would also add "Eliminate birds on habitat" but this does take some practice. It took me quite a while to really develop a feel for habitat and I'm still not sure I really have it.

Also, number 3 on the list (streaky-back / plain-back) is not neccessarily always clear cut. It applies reasonably well for most adult birds but there are always exceptions. Some birds which would ordinarily fall in the plain-backed complex may show streaky backs in juvenile plumage and some birds have different appearances when breeding or non-breeding. Of course there are also those that can't really make up their mind (or their streaks I should say). The Lazy Cisticola for instance really has a streaky back but it is so faint that for all practical purposes it can be treated as plain-backed.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 8:42 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: 2258
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
Image Image
Image
The pix 1 and 2 are of different birds – but I think they are both Wailing Cisticolas, though.

Please check out how I arrived at my conclusion of this bird's ID.

1. Distribution… the birds were seen near (north of) Rustenburg during the past Saturday (26 May).
2. It is a long-tailed cisticola
3. It is a streaky-backed cisticola
4. The tail shows no subterminal spots or barring
5. The crown and back is of similar (reddish-brown) colour

On distribution (being VERY generous) we are down to the following species: Wing-snapping, Cloud, Croaking, Desert, Zitting, Lazy, Levaillant’s, Rattling, Redfaced, Tinkling, Wailing and Neddicky.

Take out the short-tailed (aerial) birds as well as the plain-backed ones and that leaves us with five birds: Croaking, Levaillant’s, Rattling, Tinkling and Wailing. Now to match colour…

We disregard Levaillant’s because of its black back; Croaking because of its lack of red in its crown; Tinkling because of its distinctive white eyebrow and tail-markings that my bird lacks; and Rattling because of it having a distinct subterminal band which my bird lacks. That just leaves the Wailing cisticola as my ID choice. Confirming this ID was not easy. However, it seems as if it does meet all the colour requirements for a non-breeding Wailing cisticola, and 26 May would be slap-bang in the middle of the “off”-season!

That is my effort, guys. So, how far off am I on this one?

_________________
664 Latest lifer: Ovambo sparrowhawk


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu May 31, 2007 10:25 am 
Offline
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:43 pm
Posts: 749
Location: Jo'burg
Well done JvR - for once again posting a real toughy. :wink:

I think you could be right with your ID but I'm not entirely convinced that your bird is not a Rattling Cisticola.

Fortunately with these two there will be no chance of habitat overlap so you should be able to nail it based purely on the habitat. Wailing Cisticola is very much a bird of steep rocky slopes or montane grassland. The background of your pictures seem to indicate bushveld to me which would make a strong case for Rattling Cisticola.

Bear in mind that a Rattling Cisticola in non breeding plumage will be a little browner and will have a redder cap than in breeding plumage. I don't really understand plumages of Cisticolas and I'm not sure what to make of the terminal / sub-terminal bands on the tails so in short, I don't know.

_________________
"Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel." -Homer Simpson


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu May 31, 2007 10:44 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: 2258
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
Image

Having had my attentions focussed onto the two birds only I quickly saw the errors of my previous effort. Thanks again for the direction, guys!

Looking at the above table, I could check every feature of the Rattling Cisticola, while the Wailing Cisticola got mostly question marks.

On closer inspection of the Roberts VII data for the two birds, the features for size, head colour, colour of the underparts and especially habitat clinched the ID as Rattling cisticola.

_________________
664 Latest lifer: Ovambo sparrowhawk


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 2:25 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2006 9:35 pm
Posts: 206
Location: dutch coast
I found this bird in KNP (26-5-'07) on the s90. Unfortunately I only have pictures of its back.
Does anyone know what kind of bird this is?

Image
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 8:11 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: 2258
Location: I'm the patty in Jam Street
Award: Birder of the Year (2012)
Nice pix, Anja. Your bird is a Cisticola, that much I can tell you without doubt. I think we have 18 cisticolas in southern Africa. The best way to ID them is by comparing its song to the recordings catagorised in birding programs like the Roberts Multimedia birds of southern Africa. From pix they are notoriously difficult. Luckily your angle (bird depicted from the back) is the best and shows most features well.

Based on the following factors:
1. Geographical distribution, KNP bird
2. It is a long-tailed cisticola
3. It is a streaky-backed cisticola

we can narrow your bird's ID down to only three - Leveillant's, Rattling and Wailing cisticola.

Leveillant's you'll find in marshy areas and its dark areas on its back tends to be even blacker than shown here, so I'd discard it too.

That leaves just two - Wailing and Rattling. The habitat can help here as Wailing you'll find on well-grassed hill-sides, often IN patches of scrub, while Rattling prefers thornveld and is frequently (throughout the year) found singing from the top of a bush or tree (much like shown in your pix). So, I favour your bird as being a Rattling cisticola. (BTW, Rattling is supposedly heavier billed, so that seems to be another feature that fits)

Now that is very much speculation, and if you quote me, I'll deny ever having communicated with you... :twisted:

_________________
664 Latest lifer: Ovambo sparrowhawk


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:41 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:02 pm
Posts: 381
Hi Guys! :lol:
I need a bit of help please.......
Initially thought Sabota Lark, but now soooo confused! :redface:
Taken near Babalala at around 11h00 am.
Thanx a lot, Ralph.

Image

_________________
----------------------------------
Club LIT, Club CHIT, AWD-fan


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:20 pm 
Offline
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:43 pm
Posts: 749
Location: Jo'burg
It is a Cisticola. The picture doesn't show size but the size should have been the first pointer to rule out any Lark and definitely Sabota Lark.

The plumage and structure is also enough to pin it down to Cisticola and with the rufous crown, streaked back and horn coloured bill I would say it is a Rattling Cisticola.

_________________
"Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel." -Homer Simpson


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 123 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 9  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


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 Jurie van Vuuren at 12:26:03 Submitted by teddy_rsa at 14:19:08 Submitted by grannyb at 23:42:22 Submitted by grannyb at 22:32:14