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Puffback: Black-backed Puffback

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Skopsie
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Unread postby Skopsie » Fri Mar 21, 2008 3:09 pm

Hi all

Saw this at Balule camp last weekend. I think it could be an imm Black-backed Puffback. My Sasol says the eye is brown in the imm. Adult has the red eye.

Could it be in the proses of losing/changing it's feathers? Why does the wing look in such a bad shape?

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Unread postby RosemaryH » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:08 pm

Skopsie I think it's a female Puffback and could still be a juv. looking at the eye.
Females are duller above and have a white forehead and eyebrow. They are also less intensely black than the male. Have also read that the Puffback's eyes are yellow, orange or red and that the eye colour varies depending on range, yellow in the south and red in the north and that immatures do have a brown eye. It probably is in the process of maturing.
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Unread postby Jock » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:25 pm

Can you guys help me ID this pretty little bird. We saw it at our time share on the croc river. The closest bird I can find is the Cinnamon-breasted Tit.

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Unread postby JoelR » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:41 pm

I think it's a juvenile Black-backed Puffback. It's hardly shown in field guides but this site has a good example (look for puffback under the shrikes).

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Unread postby Jock » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:53 pm

Thanks for that JoelR, I have been searching through my books trying to work out what bird it is. That is a great website.
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:15 am

I agree with Joel on the immature Black-Backed Puffback. The wing markings are diagnostic.

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Puffback: Black-backed Puffback

Unread postby Jumbo » Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:54 am

Black-backed Puffback (Dryoscopus cubla)

A compact, black and white bird of tall trees and forests.
Size 16-18cm - a bit larger than a sparrow.
Afrikaans: Sneeubal

The bill is short, straight with a sharp hook at the end of the upper mandible . The bill is not as heavy as that of the Fiscal Shrike. The bill is black and the legs and feet are grey.

The underparts are white, and the upperparts black with white markings. The female has less black on the head, and is duller in general appearance. It may show a slight white eyebrow. Both sexes have an obvious red eye. The Black-backed Puffback is smaller than a Boubou or Fiscal shrike, and has much more white on the wings and back.

This is a common species of thick bush, riverine forest and other well-wooded habitats. It is found from the Garden route northwards, and also occurs in well-wooded gardens. It spends most of the time within the canopy, working through the foliage in search of prey. It is usually seen singly, or in pairs, often in the company of other birds, with which it form bird parties - particularly in the non-breeding season.

The name "Puffback" is derived from the courtship display, which involves the male fluffing out its spectacular white rump plumes, which make it look a bit like a snowball, hence the Afrikaans name "sneeubal".

It subsists almost entirely on insects, which are gleaned from the foliage it works through.

The usual call consists of two syllables, a click like chick, followed immediately by a more drawn out wheeeu. This is usually repeated a number of times in quick succession. The "chick" sounds a bit like a Zulu "q": q-weeu, q-weeu, q-weeu, q-weeu, q-weeu, q-weeu, q-weeu.

Nesting takes place mainly in the summer months (generally September to January). The Nest is a small neat cup of grass roots and bark, firmly bonded with spider webs, lined with fine grass. It is placed in the slender fork of an upright tree some 2-12m above the ground.

Information obtained from SASOL Bird e-Guide

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Unread postby Jock » Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:14 am

We saw this lovely puff back at our timeshare on the Crocodile River.

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Re: Puffback: Black-backed Puffback

Unread postby DinkyBird » Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:18 pm

My word these guys do not sit still for a split second! How did you two get those lovely pics?

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Pic taken at Matambeni bird hide, KNP, Aug 2008
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Re: Puffback: Black-backed Puffback

Unread postby Nannie » Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:01 pm

Why they are called puffback's,taken at Skukuza .
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Last edited by Nannie on Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Snow Ball

Unread postby Pikkie » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:20 pm

On Saturday 27 Sept this year, a couple of friends and family took a drive to KNP, entering at Punda Maria and exiting at Phalaborwa.

Now I have often done this trip and have had some wonderful sightings, but this trip was very quiet concerning big game. But we came across 4 different families of ground hornbill and a very special sighting of a single snow ball.

At Shingwedzi rest camp at the restuarant area I saw this strange, but wonderful looking bird and I was immediately thrilled and knew that it was a snow ball :dance: :clap: . My first one ever!!!

I would like to know are they commonly seen and where do you most likely see them?
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Re: Snow Ball

Unread postby Pikkie » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:24 pm

Tiny bird not a LBJ, it has feathers(white) towards the rear that rounds up like a snow ball
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Re: Snow Ball

Unread postby Imax » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:24 pm

BM its a Black-backed Puffback. In Afrikaans it is called a Sneeubal (snow ball)

Pikkie, i have one in my Randburg garden on a daily basis. Another good spot is Walter Sisulu Gardens if you are in gauteng.

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Re: Snow Ball

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:27 pm

I've only once saw it display. for many years I have seen the bird in the vicinity of 30 times, mostly in Gauteng area and only once saw it display. This was the last time @ Walter Sisulu. :D
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Re: Snow Ball

Unread postby Pikkie » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:28 pm

O ok, but are they found through out the park or are they found only in certain areas of KNP?
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