Wow, judging from the scores this has been the toughest challenge I have set to date. Nobody got full marks, but congratulations to Ladybirder and Barryels for top scoring 8/10. I hope the answers will be educational and encouraging to keep you all entering and learning. . In this challenge I also tried to find as many colour morphs and images that don’t appear in the guide books to encourage you to look at shape and form, rather than colour of plumage etc and to read some of the text and descriptions, as well as using the web based info. With the exception of the first bird, the theme was juveniles from the Southern cape and Karoo surrounds, so here goes, the answers and explanations.
#1 Common Ostrich
You guys all had loads of fun with the “honey badger”. I figured for the first bird of the year “go big or go home”. Amazing how you can hide a 100kg black and white 2m tall bird in sparse karoo vegetation. For those of you who wanted scores by the Kg, you all got 98%. I think that’s where the fun stopped and the work began.
#2 Cape Sparrow
If you look carefully, at the corner of the beak, you can see the remains of a fleshy yellow gape. This should set all the alarm bells off, that the colouring in the bird you see may not be the same as the adult plumage. At the time it was being fed by cape sparrow adults. I am still not 100% sure if it is male or female, as I am not sure how the colour develops into adulthood. Other guesses were white browed sparrow weaver and yellow throated petronia.
#3 Black Winged lapwing (sub adult)
The adult BWL is quite easily separated from the Senegal lapwing, in that the eye ring is much bolder, and the legs pink, not black. Pictures of the adult would be no fun, so I posted a picture of a sub adult, which has not developed complete adult eye colouring, giving it an appearance of Senegal lapwing…. The pink legs were the clincher for BWL.
#4 Malachite Kingfisher (juvenile)
Most guide books don’t show the juvenile with black bill, so I expected many of you to default to half collared kingfisher. Despite my most evil intentions
, few fell for it.
#5 Lanner Falcon (juvenile)
Yellow feet, (not orange would eliminate Amur and Eurasian Hobby falcon) the streaking stops at shoulder height eliminates juvenile Peregrin falcon, in which the streaks extend up the neck . The bird is also too stocky to be migratory elenora’s, hobby or amur falcons.
#6 Yellow canary (male sub adult/transitional)
I thought this would be harder, but most of you got this right. The juvenile male is similar in appearace, but more boldly marked than the female. The odd bright yellow feathers suggest the male transforming into adult plumage.
#7 Dusky sunbird baby (female)
Yikes I apologise for posting this one, as it was way too hard, as there is no clear way I can think of that you could have nailed it down to species level among the sunbirds (without doing a PhD on the subject). What surprised me was how few people got this as a juvenile sunbird. Again, the yellow gape is the giveaway that this bird is very young. In sunbirds the beak still grows a bit after the bird is fledged (I guess you can’t fit a long beak into an egg), so the beak length and short tail had most people thinking along the lines of a crombecs and white eyes. The pollen on the tip of the beak also screams sunbird.
#8 White starred robin (fledgling)
The dumpy appearance and wide fleshy gape should scream juvenile (fledgling) all over. There are a few species that produce spotted babies like that: robins, chats and flycatchers. Of these this is the only baby that has yellow spots. As the bird matures the bird goes olive yellow for the first year before obtaining the adult plumage. I landed up walking 13km carrying a Canon 7D with 400mm lens over hectic terrain, and this was the only picture I took the whole day. Well done Ladybirder, the only one to get this little baby right!
#9 Crowned Lapwing juvenile
Most got this without any problems… I guess there are quite a few keen eyed birders among you that are able to spot these youngsters in the grass (my kids love finding them). The long pink legs and developing crown are diagnostic.
#10 Jackal Buzzard (Juvenile)
Many of you battled to put this bird in the right family group. The lack of feathers on the legs rules out the eagles. The short tail and dumpy appearance would suggest you have a buzzard rather than kites or others. The lack of a T-shape in white or banding on the chest rules out steppe buzzard. Also the pale eye is more diagnostic for a young Jackal buzzard .