Here are the results of challenge #33
We had 19 ‘mites taking part, mainly thanks to hilda’s efforts to get the ‘mites’ noses back in their fieldguides!
One ‘mite scored 4;
five ‘mites scored 5;
five ‘mites scored 6;
four got 7;
three scored 8;
one scored 9;
and we had none with all the answers right.
Overall the challenge returned an average score of 63.2%... Surprising how difficult an ID is of a bird-in-the-hand!
Thanks again to those 'mites who so diligently add explanatory notes with their IDs.
#1 – Green twinspot female 
. Everyone were spot-on here.
#2 – Brown-crowned Tchagra 
. Everyone else thought it was a Black-crowned tchagra. I selected the camera angle so that the brown crown would be difficult to see (there is enough of a hint for the sharper-eyed observers not to be taken in by this trick…). Some birds are like that: it has one outstanding ID feature without which one often fails to make the right ID-call, in spite of there being enough other features by which the correct ID can be made. The Afrikaans name for this Tchagra is: Rooivlerktjagra, meaning red wing… Not all the fieldguides put enough emphasis on this feature, some actually having the shading wrong! The second feature is the colour of the breast: very light (tending to white) for the BCT and buffy/grey for our bird.
#3 – Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird 
. Too easy!
#4 – Stierling's Wren-warbler 
. Nearly all other calls were for barred wren-warbler. Sharifa
wrote: The black barring on the white underparts differentiates it from the Barred Wren- Warbler which has brown barring. The eye of the SWW is also orange and not brown.
#5 – Red-backed Mannikin, juvenile 
. Most ‘mites confused this bird with a Bronze mannikin. Bronzies NEVER have red feathers on their backs at any stage of their lives.
#6 – Yellow-billed Oxpecker (Immature) 
. Hide the bill and most people will agree: the ID becomes VERY difficult to make! Although the challenge bird was a “brown job”, the combination of dark brown head, neck, shoulders and wings with a pale rump is unique amongst SA birds. Apart from the bird’s song, the pale rump of the YBO is the only major ID feature that one can use to distinguish between juvenile red-billed and yellow-billed oxpeckers in a mixed flock.
#7 – Brown-backed Honeybird 
. Although they are most likely to be confused with African Dusky or Spotted Flycatchers, the shape of the bill and the stance (giss) just do not spell flycatcher… And looking for the characteristic rictal bristles to confirm “flycatcher”, you’d find none!
Some opted for Karoo chat, the general colouration being quite close. The bill shape and giss is also not right for the chat…
If you have never seen a BBHB, the slog through your fieldguide(s) starts here… Hopefully you’ll recognize it when you see it!
#8 – Long-billed Crombec 
. Wow! Maybe being at the back-end of a tough challenge, ‘mites took this bird as easy? Most confusion was evident here. Again there is no doubt once you are pointed to the right ID. Like mel123
wrote: The grey eye stripe, reddish eye, (generally the) colouring.
Grey on top with buffy below is quite a unique colour combination!
Various prinias’ facial patterns do not fit.
Kalahari scrub-robin was another popular choice. Bill shape and eye colour will not match.ANSWERS TO THE TWISTS
A list of trivia quoted by you… Good work!
T1 – SAFRING
• established in 1948
• maintains a database of all birds ringed in southern Africa that can be used to establish information about movement and survival of different species.
• There are currently about 130 ringers active in southern Africa.Every bird.
• In 1982, this database has been augmented by a retrap database that contains ringing information and details of birds.
• SAFRing ringers operate in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.
• About 70 000 birds are ringed annually.
• Ringers, both amateur and professional, have to pay for all rings used. An exception is those rings used on Redbilled Quelea, which are paid for by the Department of Agriculture. Recoveries of ringed quelea provide data on movements and mortality and contribute to a better understanding of the population dynamics of this explosively (destructive) species.
• There have been more than 21 000 ring recoveries since the start of the project. This gives an overall recovery rate for rings in southern Africa of marginally less than 1%, averaged across all species.
• The database as a whole is a resource for researchers, conservation biologists and managers, and primarily provides answers to questions related to movement and survival.
• Ringing provides a cost- effective tool for monitoring our environment and commonly draws attention to pollution, poisoning, powerline incidents, longline fishing fatalities and other hazards.
• Ringers catch the birds in mist nets and weigh and measure them before ringing and releasing.
• People who ring birds have to have a permit/licence and be properly trained/qualified. On average it takes two years to qualify as a bird ringer.
T2 – SABAP
• South African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP) has been described as the largest biodiversity ever undertaken on the continent of Africa.
• The project has won several awards; the most notable was the John FW Herschell Gold Medal of the Royal Society of South Africa, which was awarded to the seven editors of the SABAP Bird Atlas in 1999.
• The compilation of checklists is a perennially popular activity among birders; the scientific value of doing this was clearly demonstrated by SABAP.
• SABAP is being followed up with a similar project (SABAP2) which will produce a database complementary to that of the first atlas.
• Fieldwork for SABAP began in 1987. The project culminated with the publication in 1997 of The Atlas of Southern African Birds.
• The new atlas project is known as Second Southern African Bird Atlas Project, and is abbreviated to SABAP2.
• SABAP covered six countries: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. At the time, Mozambique was engulfed in a civil war, and needed to be excluded.
• The resolution for SABAP1 was the quarter degree grid cell, QDGC, 15 minutes of latitude by 15 minutes of longitude, 27.4 km north-south and about 25 km east-west, an area about 700 square km. However in Botswana a half degree grid cell was used. The total number of grid cells, taking account of the courser resolution in Botswana, was 3973. Fieldwork was conducted mainly in the five-year period 1987–1991, but the project coordinators included all suitable data collected after 1980. In some areas, particularly those that were remote and inaccessible, data collection continued until 1993.
• Fieldwork was undertaken mainly by birders, and most of it was done voluntarily. Fieldwork consisted of compiling bird lists in the grid cells. All the checklists were fully captured into a database. The final dataset consisted of 147 605 checklists containing a total of 7.3 million records of bird distribution. No checklists were available for 88 grid cells (2.2% of the total).
• Project coordination was undertaken by the Avian Demography Unit (ADU) at the University of Cape Town.
• Since 2008, the acronym ADU has stood for the Animal Demography Unit.
• The final product of the project was a two-volume set of A4-sized books, covering 932 species, with a total of 1500 pages, and published in 1997 by BirdLife South Africa.
• The books are now out of print, but the individual species texts are available on the SABAP2 website.
• Volume 1 contains a chapter on the relevance of southern African geography to birds
• Because of the wide diversity of habitats in southern Africa, this project showed that 9% of the total number of bird species of the world are found in an area (southern Africa) that constitutes only 1.67% of the world's land surface.
• The project provides information on distribution; seasonality of breeding; and the direction and seasonality of migration.
• It provided much of the information upon which the Important Bird Area selection process in southern Africa was based
• It provided much of the information upon which the IUCN Red List for birds in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland were based.
• SABAP2 is now underway and has branched out to collect data about migratory arrivals and departures.Read more about:
1. Green Twinspot
2. Brown-crowned Tchagra
3. Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird
4. Stierling's Wren-Warbler
5. Red-backed Mannikin
6. Yellow-billed Oxpecker
7. Brown-backed Honeybird
8. Long-billed Crombec