Okiedokie folkies. Time for the answers to Challenge #14.
There were 13 participants, 4 of whom nailed it with a full score. Well done Johan van Rensburg, Dugong, barryels and Ladybirder
In general, you guys did very well in this challenge with the average score being 6.8 out of 8.
Three of the birds were correctly identified by everybody.
So, let's proceed to the answers. I'll give some ID pointers on separating each bird from it's main confusion candidate but if you are still unsure as to why the bird is not what you thought it was, ask away and I'll try to give some pointers.Bird 1: Hartlaub's Babbler.
Every single one of you identified this one correctly. Once you've spotted that it is a Babbler, the white rump and the red eye are the giveaways.Bird 2: Brown Firefinch.
Again, identified correctly by everybody. I was hoping that someone might slip up and call it a Red-billed Firefinch but the absence of red on the flanks, belly and tail are just too obvious.Bird 3: Rufous-bellied Heron.
Identified correctly by all but one participant who ID'ed it as Common Moorhen. I can see why one might make that mistake if you have no sense of the size of the bird but the rufous upper wing coverts and belly helps here. Also, next time you see a Common Moorhen out of the water, have a look at the feet, they're enormous! When they swim around in the water you tend to forget what monstrous feet they hide underneath.Bird 4: Common Scimitarbill.
Identified correctly by 11 out of 13 participants. A number of you identified it as a juvenile bird but it is in fact an adult. While a yellow gape is often an indication of a young bird, adult Scimitarbills actually do have a yellow gape. Also, this bird was photographed very early in the morning with the light being a lovely warm colour which gave the bird a coppery sheen.
Of course I didn't deduct any points for aging the bird incorrectly but even if that was important, I do not believe this picture shows the longer, more decurved bill and darker plumage well enough to rule out a juvenile bird. I happen to know it was an adult because I spent a fair amount of time with the bird. Bird 5: Northern Grey-headed Sparrow.
This bird was one of two that fooled most of you with only 8 participants getting it right. The incorrect answers ranged from the expected Southern Grey-headed Sparrow to Great Sparrow, Black-headed Canary and Red-backed Shrike. This bird is separated from the usual suspect, Southern Grey-headed Sparrow, by having a much heavier bill, no white wing bar, white throat and ever so slightly longer tail.Bird 6: Green Sandpiper.
Cool bananas! This bird was correctly identified by everybody. Considering the frequency with which I receive pictures of Wood Sandpipers asking whether they could be Green Sandpipers, I expected this bird to be misidentified by at least some participants. Maybe this illustrates how you may sometimes be scratching your head when looking at a Wood Sandpiper, thinking it may be Green, but when you see a Green Sandpiper, you know it's a Green Sandpiper. This principle holds true more often than you may think. Lots of people get confused by oddly plumaged Ruff, thinking they're Redshanks, but once you see a Redshank you won't wonder whether it is or isn't one.Bird 7: Souza's Shrike.
This was the other bird that proved the toughest in the challenge with only 8/13 correct answers. It's told apart from Red-backed Shrike in having a significantly longer tail and a white wing bar.
Yes, some of you have even picked up on the fact that a fair number of these birds are all northern Namibian species. I was a bit lazy to go trawl my archives for pictures so I drew mainly from my recent Dec trip to northern Namibia Bird 8: Bearded Vulture.
Correctly identified by 11/13 participants. I deliberately darkened the image and removed some contrast so as to hide plumage features. I specifically wanted to prompt you towards identifying the bird based on its silhouette and you did well. That long, almost paddle-like tail can belong to only one species.Read more about:
1. Hartlaub's Babbler
2. Brown Firefinch unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
3. Rufous-bellied Heron
4. Common Scimitarbill unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
5. Northern Grey-headed Sparrow unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
6. Green Sandpiper
7. Souza's Shrike unfortunately not on the Bird Index yet.
8. Bearded Vulture