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Cisticola, Cloud

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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arks
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Cisticola, Cloud

Unread postby arks » Sun Nov 22, 2009 6:05 am

Two more that have me puzzled, both seen at Bontebok NP on 3 October 2009.

I think that this one might be a Namaqua warbler? It has a white throat, white underparts and much lighter streaking than the similar Karoo prinia ... so ... ?
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Any help pointing me to clues that I'm missing will be, as always, greatly appreciated :pray: :D
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Barcud » Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:06 pm

Hi Arks,

I think both birds are Cisticola's. I'll try to narrow it down, but these things drive me up the wall!

Bontebok has 5 Cisticola species recorded, so we can narrow it down to these in the first instance.

Zitting, Cloud, Grey-backed Levaillant's and Neddicky.

(If it's not one of these, we can then look at possible vagrants).

The first bird has streaked underparts, the only two Cisticala's that show this in our 5 are Cloud and Grey-backed. Cloud shows a streaked head, Grey-backed has a plain head. I think we can say that this bird is a Grey-backed.

My ID's of these two birds may be wrong, so confirmation by someone more experienced would be appreciated, but hope this helps.

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Rusty Justy » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:13 pm

Sorry Arks, did your first bird perhaps have a short tail or was it long like that of your second birds...the angle isnt giving away much?!
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Barcud » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:21 pm

Hi RJ,

Funnily enough, my initial gut feeling was for an Acro warbler, but discounted it after looking it up in the book as I thought the back and nape colouration was wrong. I maybe should have stuck with my initial thoughts. Still, it's good to learn.

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arks
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby arks » Mon Nov 23, 2009 3:55 am

Rusty Justy wrote:Sorry Arks, did your first bird prehaps have a short tail or was it long like that of your second birds...the angle isnt giving away much?!


Hi RJ, thanks for pursuing these. The first bird did have a short(er) tail, not at all like that of the 2nd bird. And both were seen quite close to the Breede River — the road parrallels the river and these were both seen on the farther side of the road. So plenty of water nearby, altho not a dam or a vlei :wink:
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Rusty Justy » Mon Nov 23, 2009 5:54 am

Thanks Arks :thumbs_up:

Then your first bird I believe is a Cloud Cisticola (Southern Cape Morph with the Streaked Appearance).
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Barcud » Mon Nov 23, 2009 8:32 pm

Hi RJ & Arks,

Tail length gives that one away, but I learnt one thing from this - Cloud Cisticola can show a plain reddish head rather than streaked as all the field guides show (the ones I have at least). Did another search for photos and found one with a plain bright head as the one in Arks' pic.

As the saying goes, there's nowt to beat experience in the field.

Enjoyed looking this one up, just hope my eyesight holds out tonight :shock:

Have a good one,

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby pnm » Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:27 pm

Hello all

Some help please with this one: I have worked through Roberts and sasol and am not much wiser. I suspect it as a juvenioe which is why I cannot get a definite ID. The eyebrow is prominent as are the stripes on the chest. I at first suspected juvenile Levaillant's Cistcola but now wonder if it is not a Warbler or Prina (but the only Warbler it could be is the sedge ). I also noote that the tail is remarkably short So could the experts please help?

When: 12 Narch 2011
Where: Fence at grasslands on farm outside Paarl (mixed farm - grapes, wheat, cattle, sheep. ) About 500m from dam.
Call: Silent
Habits: No tail lifting nor any other identifying habits.
Size: Small. Cisticola size.

The two pics aren't as clear as I would like but are enlargements as the bird was very nervous.

Image

Image

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Niall » Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:13 am

Hi Pete, your bird looks like the textrix subspecies of Cloud Cisticola, which has the streaky chest.

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby pnm » Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:20 pm

Hi Niall

Thanks so much for the help. I immediately went back to Roberts and you are spot on - the short tail, the long legs are now clear to me - I would never have got it without help. Thanks. It is a lifer for me.

And in an hour I am going to that same farm to see what else I can see. Last Sunday over 40 Spurwing Geese at the farm dam was a great site to view.

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby naomi c » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:16 pm

I photographed this tiny little bird at Rietvlei Nature Reserve on Sunday. The pics are not great :redface: but I really hope an ID is possible?

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:44 pm

naomi c, it is one of the "Cloudscraper cisticolas" of which there are five. The bird shows a nice pectoral patch which I don't think one sees in Zitting or Desert. To my mind, that leaves three candidates... The pale-crowned cisticola one can discount on the basis that Rietvlei NR falls outside of its normal distribution range. So, we are left with two!

Song and display are the only sure way to make sure of its ID. As far as I can ascertain the only physical difference between these two birds is in the length of tarsus, a difference of about 3 mm, but if you don't have the bird in the hard, that is very difficult to judge. Your bird looks leggy to me and I post an example of a wing-snapping cisticola (positive ID was based on song and display) so that you can see what that one's tarsus length looks like (don't get carried away by the huge difference in colour and feather patterns as both can look exactly alike in both states of feather wear, fresh and worn!)

Image

That is the best that I can do... leave you with a choice of Wing-snapping and Cloud, with me leaning a little towards the latter...
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby naomi c » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:57 pm

Thx, JvR, really appreciate all the help and information! Unfortunately we did not hear it calling or see the flight display. :(

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:28 am

Mostly likely a Cloud Cisticola. Very common in Rietvlei.
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