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LBJ ID - Interesting discussions

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
JOL
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LBJ ID - Interesting discussions

Unread postby JOL » Tue Jul 07, 2009 10:02 am

Moegaai wrote:Results for Challenge #47:

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#6 – Plain-backed Pipit (4/14): Overall tawny colouring, plain upperparts, lack of distinct markings on chest and underparts, pale buffy outer primary tail feathers, light yellow lower mandible. Has a fairly typical stance as in picture.

Well done to all! And hopefully the number of participants will increase again…


....right , right , yes , yes.... - what? Light yellow lower mandible...? I know I'm not colour-blind , and my computer monitor seems to be in good working order , and yet the lower mandible on this bird looks decidedly pinkish to me. As this is perhaps the most important distinguishing feature between plain-backed and buffy on this picture , it would be nice to know if I'm the only one with that impression?

Otherwise a big thanks to the two "challengers" for yet another educational quiz!

Cheers
Jon

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Lizet Grobbelaar
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Re: Bird ID Challenge.

Unread postby Lizet Grobbelaar » Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:43 pm

JOL,
A tip that helps me to tell the difference between the two:
Except for the plain back with almost no markings,
Plainbacked has more contrast between the belly and back. If you look at the challenge pic the lower belly is a pale creamy buff and the back is darker greyish.
Buffy Pipit has less contrast between belly and back, in other words the belly will almost be the same buffy colour but still paler than the back. The overall impression is of less contrast.

Regarding the colour of the base of the bill - this can be a tricky field character depending on light.

Hope it will help for next time...
Last edited by Lizet Grobbelaar on Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Moegaai
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Re: Bird ID Challenge.

Unread postby Moegaai » Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:57 pm

Hi JOL,

I have to say that possibly the morning light is playing games with you, or your screen is, or are you possibly wearing pink-lensed sunglasses when working at your PC!? :twisted:

I have to agree that it's not that easy to conclusively see that it IS light-yellow in the pic (or at least when I saw it in real life), so it again goes to show how difficult it is to ID there guys.

Lizet, thank you for that VERY interesting ID feature!!! :clap: There I learnt something!
Last edited by Moegaai on Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bird ID Challenge.

Unread postby JOL » Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:43 am

Moegaai wrote:Hi JOL,

I have to say that possibly the morning light is playing games with you, or your screen is, or are you possibly wearing pink-lensed sunglasses when working at your PC!? :twisted:

I have to agree that it's not that easy to conclusively see that it IS light-yellow in the pic (or at least when I saw it in real life), so it again goes to show how difficult it is to ID there guys.

Lizet, thank you for that VERY interesting ID feature!!! :clap: There I learnt something!



Hi Moegaai ,

Of course , there is also the possibility that I’m right , and that the lower mandible is in fact pinkish on the picture! I therefore tried to import the photo to Photoshop , and what do you know , as it turns out it is…. (drum roll)….: Pinkish! Since all the other characters you describe is also good for buffy pipit , well…! :huh:
How it looked in real life is hard to know for the rest of us , when all we have is this photo. However , I do know that colours can be distorted in some light conditions , and maybe that’s what has happened here - although if you think it looks yellow on the picture , maybe you got it wrong in the field as well…! :wink:


Hi Lizet ,

Thanks for the tip regarding the separation of plain-backed and buffy pipit - these small hints are very good to know! I just checked some pipit-pics on: http://www.pipits.co.za/gallery_new.htm , and it seems to apply rather well , though I can see that the back can also look contrastingly greyish on buffy pipit in some light conditions - the character is probably even better in the field than when you apply it on photos.
You also mention “plain back with almost no markings” as a distinguishing feature , but aren’t they both rather plain-backed?

Cheers
Jon

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Lizet Grobbelaar
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LBJ ID - Interesting discussions

Unread postby Lizet Grobbelaar » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:05 am

JOL wrote:You also mention “plain back with almost no markings” as a distinguishing feature , but aren’t they both rather plain-backed?

Cheers
Jon


Hi Jon,
Yes with "no markings" I mean unstreaked back or in other words, plain-backed. Glad I could help.

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Re: Bird ID Challenge.

Unread postby Moegaai » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:40 am

Hi JOL,

I got the comment re the colour of the lower mandible from Roberts MM, maybe should have thought twice before using that bit of info, as I guess it's not something to truly use as a distinguishing feature. Lizet's comments seem a lot more helpful than mine had been...

But ultimately Pipits are EVIL birds to ID!

The one comment that is important to remember in the field, is as Imax said to what we saw... Every time the Plain-backed Pipit stopped and stood still, it wagged its tail twice!
Last edited by Moegaai on Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Bird ID Challenge.

Unread postby Ferdelance » Thu Jul 09, 2009 11:55 am

Ok As I also came to the conclusion that it was a Buffy Pipit I am reading this with intrest as I also thought it was a non-yellow bill! :big_eyes: :hmz:

Now I just need to find one in the real world to put all this good info to use! :wink:
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Re: Bird ID Challenge.

Unread postby JOL » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:18 pm

Lizet Grobbelaar wrote:
JOL wrote:You also mention “plain back with almost no markings” as a distinguishing feature , but aren’t they both rather plain-backed?

Cheers
Jon


Hi Jon,
Yes with "no markings" I mean unstreaked back or in other words, plain-backed. Glad I could help.



Hi Lizet ,

Thanks again Lizet! I might have expressed myself a bit clumsily , though - sorry!
What I meant to ask was: Doesn’t both plain-backed pipit and buffy pipit have a “plain back with almost no markings”?
And if so: How is that a distinguishing character?

Cheers
Jon

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Re: Bird ID Challenge.

Unread postby Batmad » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:22 pm

Yes jon they do but Plain backed has a more darker browm of a back compared to the Buffy which has a lighter sandy brown back.

But these are not the only key ID features you will look for, other ID featurs will help much better than just the colour of the back.
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Re: Bird ID Challenge.

Unread postby JOL » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:33 pm

Moegaai wrote:Hi JOL,

I got the comment re the colour of the lower mandible from Roberts MM, maybe should have thought twice before using that bit of info, as I guess it's not something to truly use as a distinguishing feature. Lizet's comments seem a lot more helpful than mine had been...

But ultimately Pipits are EVIL birds to ID!

The one comment that is important to remember in the field, is as Imax said about what Niall taught us (and we saw)... Every time the Plain-backed Pipit stopped and stood still, it wagged its tail twice!


Hi Moegaai ,
Yes , pipits can be rather difficult , and even more so , when all you have is a photo. Important information like locality , time of year , voice and behaviour is lost in these instances and all you have is plumage , shape and colour of bare parts and (perhaps) jizz.
According to my SA field guides the colour of the lower mandible is actually an important character when separating plain-backed and buffy pipit , and in this case it was positively misleading , I think.
Your tip about plain-backed wagging its tail twice when stopping is the kind of behavioural character which is extremely helpful in the field (thanks!) , but less so when looking at a picture.

Cheers
Jon

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Lizet Grobbelaar
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Re: Bird ID Challenge.

Unread postby Lizet Grobbelaar » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:44 pm

JOL wrote:What I meant to ask was: Doesn’t both plain-backed pipit and buffy pipit have a “plain back with almost no markings”?
And if so: How is that a distinguishing character?

Cheers
Jon


Hi Jon,
Sorry, you are most certainly right, both have the plain back.
We use this feature to distinguish the above mentioned two pipits from other pipits (African Pipit will overlap their distribution but has a streaked back).
When you've decided it can only be one of thése two, you can start using the rest of the field characters: Base colour, tail wagging and bill length etc...to make the final call.

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Moegaai
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Re: Bird ID Challenge.

Unread postby Moegaai » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:23 pm

Ferdelance wrote:Ok As I also came to the conclusion that it was a Buffy Pipit I am reading this with intrest as I also thought it was a non-yellow bill! :big_eyes: :hmz:

Now I just need to find one in the real world to put all this good info to use! :wink:


Hey Ferdelance, make no mistake - that Pipit was a Plain-backed! We saw quite a few of them that morning. I think the one thing that possibly came from this dicussion, is that bill colour is not necessarily a key ID feature.

This has become a very interesting discussion!

BTW, I will be posting Challenge #49 tonight, as I'm off to the Drakensberg first thing in the morning. Let's see what can of worms I manage to open with the next one! :doh:

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Re: Bird ID Challenge.

Unread postby Moegaai » Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:39 pm

My post re the tail wagging also had it's own reaction! Herewith a quote from "the powers that be":

This bird displayed only subtle tail wagging which is quite unusual (but not unheard of) for the energetic Buffy Pipit. Ideally, identification should not be based solely on behavioural characters alone since these are not steadfast and depends on the bird in question's mood, current environment and activity!

So suddenly the can of worms decided to pop open again!

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Re: Bird ID Challenge.

Unread postby Ferdelance » Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:28 pm

Oh boy Moegaai! I'm still waging war with myself on Imax's quiz! :roll: :hmz: Real tough examination.... :wink:

No I'm most definatly not questioning the your conclusion! I'm just saying for me it is very hard to ID unknowns! I have never seen Pipits or Larks in the field (never positivly ID them anyway! :whistle: )so I just don't have that feeling for it...like you guys! I have to base it on what I see and it just didn't look yellow.... thats what I go on. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose! That is why your explaination is worth more than the quiz because it explains why it is what it is.... if that makes sense!
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General question on Bird Books

Unread postby Jungle Junkie » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:46 pm

I have the new Sasol Bird book and it is now the second bird I have found where there is something wrong with either the picture or description? It may of course just be me :hmz:

I looked for a particular Lark and the Book 'paints' it with yellow legs, but the other sources I checked it has pink legs? Also in the description there is No mention of the leg colour?

Thanks

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