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Quelea, Red-billed

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Lizet Grobbelaar
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Re: Quelea, Red-billed

Unread postby Lizet Grobbelaar » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:22 pm

Great close-up well done! :clap:

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Re: Quelea, Red-billed

Unread postby Sprocky » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:24 pm

Thanks Lizet. I was actually getting tired of them, every time the swarm took off it sounded like a vacuum cleaner on steroids. :twisted:

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Re: Quelea, Red-billed

Unread postby arks » Thu Nov 25, 2010 1:45 am

Lizet Grobbelaar wrote:Queleas have been recorded in KTP, they do migrate seasonally after good rains, but normally absent from the area.

Here's a male redbilled quelea in breeding colours, seen in KTP in mid-February 2010.

Image

Would this be considered a rare sighting? :hmz:
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby arks » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:11 am

This one's really got my stumped :wall: My guess is perhaps a female pintailed whydah, but I didn't see any males about (or do nonbreeding males look like the females? — also not sure just when they starting to breed?) This bird was seen at MZNP on 17 September 2011.

Image

Image
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:04 am

You only have two to choose from, arks. The one has a streaked head, the other plain. I even want to go as far as saying I can see a bit of a red eye-ring...
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arks
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby arks » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:49 pm

Thanks, Johan. Actually, my first thought had been redbilled quelea :doh: ... do the sexes look alike when they're not breeding?
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:04 pm

The female never has a red bill. When breeding her bill will be yellow/ocre.

Check out this link! :twisted:
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby arks » Sun Dec 11, 2011 5:43 pm

:shock: :doh: :lol: :redface:

The pix for redbilled quelea in my Newman's really don't make this clear at all :wall: (Perhaps it's time for a new field guide?!?)

Thanks, Johan, for again pointing me in the right direction!
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby DavenJan » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:53 am

Help would be appreciated to identify the bird with the yellow/orange bill seen near Nwanetsi. Thanks
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Elsa » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:19 pm

My guess would be that its a Village Indigobird, possibly a male in transitional plumage, but would appreciate confirmation from one of the other birders.
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby adrianp » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:14 pm

It could well be. I was thinking on the lines of a red billed quelea (yellow billed form). I would be interested in seeing what others have to say.

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby Dabchick » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:30 am

At first I though female thick-billed weaver, but it doesn't look right for that somehow, so I think adrianp is correct -- it's a breeding female red-billed quelea (the breeding female is supposed to have a "waxy yellow bill" according to the book....). Definitely not a indigo bird in any kind of plumage - they don't have bright yellow bills

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread postby deefstes » Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:08 am

It is indeed a female Red-billed Quelea in breeding. The typical bill colour would be "waxy yellow" or "dull yellow" but brighter yellow colour isn't unusual.

As regards Indigobirds, despite the plumage features, remember that they are no bigger than Blue Waxbills. This bird is clearly bigger which should be the first giveaway.
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Re: Quelea, Red-billed

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:27 am

Image

I think something went awry in MM's post earlier regarding the estimated world-wide population of red-billed queleas. I believe the correct figure to be 1.5 billion birds, not 1500 billion. RBQs mainly eat seeds of cereals and grasses, supplemented with arthropods taken from vegetation and in flight. It is highly gregarious, living in flocks which can be have millions of birds, that can completely devastate cultivated areas. The sheer size of the biggest flocks is scary and even intimidates elephants that will evacuate an area when such a flock settles nearby.

In some areas, they are subjected to pest control measures, but even the destruction of more than 100 million birds in a year does not have an impact other than temporary relief for the crops in that area.

Like the common household pet, the budgie, they actually show more than one standard colour. This phenomenon is called polymorphism.
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Re: Quelea, Red-billed

Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:38 am

Hi JVR, lovely photo.

I too have read in "Where to bird in Kruger" that the population is 1500 billion birds. By far the highest of any species of bird in the world. An estimated 300million to every human being on earth.

Those who want to can double check the credibility of the book. For me personally, the figures are just too mind boggling.


These birds have one of the shortest breeding periods. The males build a nest within a day and the eggs hatch after 10 days.
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