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Indigobird: Dusky (Black Widowfinch)

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Jumbo

Indigobird: Dusky (Black Widowfinch)

Unread postby Jumbo » Mon Dec 11, 2006 11:57 am

This pic was also not taken inside a National Park (therefore the bird seed :wink: ) .
From the patches on the back, I suppose this bird is a juvenile male.

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richardharris
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Purple widowfinch (purple indigobird) - maybe?

Unread postby richardharris » Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:09 pm

Image
Saw this tiny bird on the top of a dead tree stump on the Mahonie loop.

We spent another long spell trying to decide what colour the legs were - the bill is quite clear.

In the end we decided we had the rare (for the Kruger) purple (grey/white bill and legs) and not the steelblue (fairly common) (both red) or the black (uncommon) (grey/white bill and red legs).

Hope others agree!

Richard

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Unread postby Johann » Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:28 pm

Well, it ain't the Village Indigobird (Steelblue) for a start.

The Purple Indigobird's legs can be white or light-pink in colour. Don't think this bird's legs are red enough to be the Dusky. So you might be correct.
Don't know about rare though, see all three species often enough in Kruger. They actually become more common towards the north-east.
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Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
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Unread postby richardharris » Sun Mar 04, 2007 4:07 pm

Oh well - only going on what the guide book says! My guide to the 500 odd birds which can be seen in the Kruger (several years out of date and no longer available) does not even show a picture of the purple - just mentions it as a rare visitor.

Certainly the first time I have seen it.

Richard

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Unread postby Johann » Sun Mar 04, 2007 8:31 pm

Roberts' Multimedia show pics of the Dusky Indigobird with rather pale looking legs/feet, much like yours. Just to add some confusion. :wink:

Did you see any Firefinches around? Purple Indigobird parasitizes on Jameson's Firefinch, so it could help a little.
Dusky tend to go for the African (Blue-billed) Firefinch.
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Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
Black Coucal Centropus grillii Swartvleiloerie
Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea Laeveldklappertjie

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Unread postby richardharris » Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:11 am

Sadly both were quite abundant around Punda!

Richard

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Unread postby francoisd » Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:52 pm

When I saw the photo I thought to myself: "Oh no, its that pesky Indigo bird we saw at Punda Maria hide in January!!"

A similar one kept us guessing for a long time at the birdhide and eventually we settled for Dusky Indigobird (Black Widowfinch) We wanted to be Purple Indigobird as that was the only one we did not see on our trip.

The bird we saw did have a pinkish 'glow' to its bill and legs much the same colour as the one in the photo. So maybe another tick for the trip list.

Did see a couple of 'white' bill/leg Purple Indigo birds from the Punda hide in 2005 and SASOL 3 shows that most of Kruger should fall in their distribution range
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Unread postby deefstes » Mon Mar 05, 2007 3:58 pm

I'm pretty sure your bird is a Dusky Indigobird and not Purple Indigobird.

First of all the colour of the legs should be the first indication. Even though Purple Indigobird can have a pinkish tinge to the legs I believe yours is red enough to qualify the bird as Dusky.

Also, look at those brown featers in the wings and the tail. That is rather typical of Dusky Indigobird. In fact, it is one of the field identification features that the primaries, secondaries and upper wing coverts as well as the tail is brown although I've seen a number of books that make no mention of it (Sasol and Newman for instance).

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Unread postby Johann » Mon Mar 05, 2007 4:52 pm

Thanks for the tip on the brown feathers Deefstes. I've seen it before but didn't know it to be a distinct feature. As you say the guides don't mention it. Was hoping you or one of the other more experienced birders could help us out here :wink:
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
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Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
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Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea Laeveldklappertjie

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Unread postby Snoobab » Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:35 am

Agree with deefstes - Dusky. IMHO the field guides are very poor with regards to indigobirds.

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Unread postby Johann » Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:53 am

I'm finding this to be true with more and more birds :(
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Albert Einstein

Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
Black Coucal Centropus grillii Swartvleiloerie
Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea Laeveldklappertjie

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Unread postby deefstes » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:05 am

What you have to bear in mind is that it is extremely difficult to depict a bird with a drawing in such a way that all individuals of the species can be recognised in the drawing. There can be a lot of variation amongst birds of the same species and another Dusky Indigobird might very well not have shown a single strand of brown in the feathers.

The simple fact is, there is no perfect field guide and it often helps to be armed with more than just one field guide. You will still find very experienced birders consulting three or more sources when trying to ID a tough raptor or wader.

Fortunately though they do get easier as you get to know them. The trick is to get to that point and you are going to make mistakes on yur way there. Don't worry, everybody made those mistakes at some point or another, that is how you become experienced.

My advice for inexperienced birders would be, keep going and give it yur best. If somene points out our mistake, accept it and file the new info in your mental library. Next time you'll be better armed when trying to ID a bird.

My advice for experienced birders would be, keep your criticism polite. Do it in such a way that you help build other birders' knowledge rather than breaking down their confidence.

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Unread postby Johann » Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:59 am

Write little tips like this one on the brown feathers next to the sketch in your fieldguide. It helps a lot.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Albert Einstein

Latest lifers from Kruger NP:
Black Coucal Centropus grillii Swartvleiloerie
Flappet Lark Mirafra rufocinnamomea Laeveldklappertjie

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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Thu Apr 26, 2007 3:55 pm

Saw my only one in the area between the game area and the restcamp at Addo.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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Re: Indigobird: Dusky (Black Widowfinch)

Unread postby granjan » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:57 pm

Seen in NKZN in March.

Imageindigobird dusky by jansp, on Flickr


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