Johan van Rensburg wrote:
Dusky Indigobird is exceptionally scarce in Kruger, if it does exist in Kruger at all.
I am keen to hear your motivation for this scarcity statement, WTM. Roberts MM, F. Peacock (LBJ's) and SABAP2 show distribution maps to the contrary.
I am in no way suggesting that your ID is wrong, in fact Purple is often indistinguishable from Dusky, although, in this case, the first of jaytea's pix appears to have an orange hue to its legs (not diagnostic, but a good clue...), but maybe that is just my take (eye of the beholder).
Hi Johan, rightly so. All maps show their distribution as such.
I have two motivations:
1. How many African Firefinches (Dusky's host) have you seen in Kruger?
2. To what extend does blood flow to the bare parts of the legs and bill play a role in colouration?
1. I have only ever seen 1, in Pafuri. Furthermore to this. In fact, during 3 BBW at Punda we have every time argued the id of Indigobirds in Pafuri and around Punda. So much so, that Richard Sowry and Chris Patton on one occasion called truce on opposing opinions after 30mins arguing!
African Firefinch's habitat is described in SASOL as thickets on woodland, savanna and riverine scrub which one would associate with places like Kurisa Moyo, Woodbush Forest, Pietermaritzburg and the south and north coast of KZN. Certainly not that of the mopani schrubveld around Mopani. Jameson's Firefinch;'s habitat on the other hand is described as thcikets and grassy tangles in savana and dry wwodland. Now I am not saying for a moment that the Tsendze area south of Mopani is not good for African Firefinch. I have no doubt that it is! The fact that I have also never seen African Firefinch in that area also does not mean that they do not occur there. I just feel that the majority of records for African Firefinch and Dusky Indigobird on SABAP2 are miss-id'ed birds of co-incidentally as colourful as they may be, two of the most common mis-id'ed bird species. The reporting rate for both species are lower than that of Purple Indigobird and Jameson's Firefinch in the Mopani pentad. A classic example of Firefinch miss'id recently popped up on Facebook of a bird photographed at Walter Sisulu botanical gardens in Roodepoort. That id too drew quite a number of comments and the outcome was that it was not an African, but a Jameson's Firefinch.
2. I have personally seen some real experts make a mistake with this feature. I am taking one classic example. A bird at Kgomo-Kgomo. It was id'ed by Rob Geddes as Dusky indigobird and acknowledged as such by Etienne Marais. Co-incidently I saw the exact same bird (I knew it to be the same bird, because the twig it was sitting on on Rob's photo was the exact same twig showing on my photo!) the day before Rob saw it and was flabbergasted at how the leg colour changed from pale to very pink/orange. The excitement of the bird and accompanied blood flow alters the bare part colouration big time. I have since witnessed it on quite a few occasions with the latest being in Mooketsi earlier this year. I looked at the bird through the bins and its leg colouration changed right in front of my eyes!
Here are my photos of Purple Indigobirds.
The first bird is the Kgomo-Kgomo bird discussed above.
The second bird is a Kruger bird snapped at Punda Maria.
Note the pink/orange leg colouration.