Challenge #15 - Answer time
Thanks to all for participating and well done, I am pleasantly surprised by the good scores. I received 14 entries of which 3 nailed a full 10/10 - congrats to Hilda, Dugong and Jakkie Human. The average score for the challenge was 7.8/10 which I reckon is very good. The bonus points seemed to be a bit more elusive with no-one getting all three bonus points. A fair number of you got 2 though and most got at least 1.
So, here we go:Bird 1: Grey-headed Kingfisher.
Everyone got this one right and most of you even correctly pointed out that it's a juvenile (with that yellow tip to the bill and overall mottled appearance).Bird 2: Carp's Tit.
Correctly identified by 7/14. The key difference with Southern Black Tit of course is the absence of white barring on the vent. The amount of white in the wing is supposedly also a feature but I've never found that to be particularly useful as it varies significantly between individuals of the same species.Bird 3: Common Cuckoo (hepatic form).
Correctly identified by 10/14. This is also where the first bonus point was hiding. Everyone who told me that it's the hepatic form (or brown form, or rufous form) got the bonus point. 8/14 participants got the bonus point. I could go into the details of this bird having limited amount of yellow on the base of the bill and mostly restricted to the lower mandible, it having a white mark on the nape etc. but the simplest thing to note is that it is hepatic, a form which does not occur in African Cuckoo.Bird 4: Kurrichane Buttonquail.
Correctly identified by 13/14. One would be unlikely to ever confuse this bird with other Buttonquails but they pose a slight ID challenge with some Quails. The black spots on the flanks, the bare ring around the eye and, notably, the cream coloured iris sets it apart from all Quails though.Bird 5: Pririt Batis.
Correctly identified by 13/14 again. Also, most of you correctly pointed out that it's a female but there were no extra points for that. The only incorrect answer was Southern Boubou which is a much larger bird (although that can't be seen in the picture) but has a black eye as opposed to the yellow eye of this bird, has a more typical shrike-like bill with the hooked tip and the undersides are shaded from rufous to white but in the opposite direction (throat pale, belly rufous).Bird 6: Sabota Lark.
Correctly identified by 6/14. Also, here is where the second bonus point was waiting to be snatched up but only 3 participants got it. The bonus point was awarded to anyone who told me that this bird is of any of the thick-billed subspecies, formerly classified as Bradfield's Lark, but now lumped with Sabota Lark again.
The obvious confusion candidate here is Large-billed Lark which has much bolder markings on the breast (which would only just have been visible on the throat in this instance), a bold yellow basal half of the lower mandible and a buffy, as opposed to white, eye brow.
As for the subspecies, it is a very tricky affair to ID these birds down to the exact subspecies level without some knowledge of where the picture was taken. For that reason I decided to award the bonus point to any answer referencing one of the large-billed races. This bird was photographed in Etosha and so most likely is of the C. s. waibelai or C. s. herero subspecies but the white feather margins of the uppersides makes it a good candidate for C. s. waibeli.Bird 7: Chestnut-banded Plover.
Correctly identified by 13/14. At least the bottom two birds are Chestnut-banded Plovers but the top bird is a White-fronted Plover and anyone who pointed that out got the 3rd bonus point (4/14 of you did). A number of you identified the top bird as a Kittlitz's Plover which is understandable considering the white nape. However, Kittlitz's Plover has a more scalloped appearance on the back and in most cases show a darker band on the nape below the white band. The clinching feature however is the wing projection. The wing tips of a Kittlitz's Plovers in rest protrudes beyond the tail tip or at the very least reaches the tail tip. On White-fronted Plover the wing tips fall well short of the tail tip as is the case with this bird. Another, but very subtle, feature is that the tip of the tail is slightly darker and then shades to a greyer colour towards the base of the tail.Bird 8: Pacific Golden Plover.
Correctly identified by 10/14 and I'm really impressed. I expected this bird to gooi a lot of you and I've decided to award half a point if you simply told me that it is a Golden Plover and another half point if you told me that it is Pacific. That said, I received four incorrect answers and all of them different but not one for American Golden Plover, which I thought was going to be the big confusion candidate.
The golden marbling on the back and the big eye and slightly longer neck sets it apart from the closely related Grey Plover and the rather inconspicuous and slightly longer bill separates it from Pacific Golden Plover.Bird 9: Corn Crake.
Correctly idenfied by 13/14. Again, I expected to receive a few incorrect answers of immature crakes of all descriptions but you were too smart for me.Bird 10: Franklin's Gull.
Correctly identified by 10/14. The main confusion cadidate is Black-headed Gull which has a much lighter grey mantle and much less pronounced white eye crescents.