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 Post subject: White-eye: Orange River
Unread postPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 12:09 am 
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By all accounts the pix I am posting here appear to be that of Zosterops pallidus or the Orange River White-eye. Again, a product of back-yard birding :lol:

I have a fruit feeding station that has attracted some specials in the past, but this one is a bit "out-o'-bounds"... too far east by about 500 kms!

Image Image

I post front and rear views so that the bird can be studied thoroughly. Here you can see a note and good pix of the Cape white-eye, francoisd's being probably the clearest. Image

Now here's the rub: the Cape white-eye has two variants, one with a yellow/olive colour (Zosterops virens virens), and one that looks like the ORWE! (Z. v. capensis - like francoisd's). So how to distinguish between the two? Roberts VII says the main difference is the flanks - the ORWE has peach-coloured flanks and the CWE has buff-grey to grey flanks. Well, is my bird's flanks peachy or what?

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Unread postPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 12:11 pm 
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If you want to be sure of ORWE sightings, JvR, get to Richtersveld NP. They are plentiful at De Hoop campsite.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 12:36 pm 
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Hi, BB!

Thanks for the suggestion - one day I will make a plan to get to the dry Parks. Any suggestions from your side (seeing as you probably will have had plenty of viewing opportunities) as to the probability of my bird being an ORWE?

I know that one would normally disregard such an ID on distribution alone, but the near rosy (peach, as Roberts VII calls it) colour on the flanks so impressed me that convincing me otherwise will some motivation :lol:

To any sceptics - bring on the motivation!

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Unread postPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:04 pm 
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Sorry Johan, I have no clue as to birds being outside their 'areas', except that last year I saw a pair of goliath herons at Paarl, nowhere near where they are 'supposed' to be.

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Unread postPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 10:01 pm 
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Hi Johan

Your bird sure looks like the Orange River White-eye. Maybe a little paler than in Roberts? But would agree with your i.d.

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Unread postPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 7:06 am 
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JvR, this is quite fascinating. Your bird looks bang on the button for ORWE and a sighting in Standerton would certainly be very interesting.

We've had an interesting summer what with the absence of proper rain and all. A number of species from the arid west turned up in the usually moister eastern regions. I saw a pair of Grey-backed Sparrowlarks in the Vlaklaagte area earlier this year and a number of people have recorded Lark-like Buntings in the Gauteng area but even as far east as northern Kruger.

In the light of this, it would make perfect sense that ORWE could show up outside of its normal distribution range but Standerton! I think, if this is indeed an ORWE, it wold constitute a remarkable record. I know that Etienne Marais recorded ORWE at the Vredefort Dome just outside Parys but that is still a good 200km west of Standerton (as the Orange-river White-eye flies).

You may want to send these pictures to Etienne Marais. I'm sure he would find it interesting. Also, Trevor Hardaker has a section for regional rarities on his website, I suggest you send these pictures to him.

Cheers.

I suggest

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Unread postPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 8:06 am 
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I agree with deefstes, the dry summer has done some strange things. A few years ago there were confirmed reports of Grey-backed Sparrowlarks around Satara, so you never know what might turn up.
The bird in question does look very much like a ORWE.
As far as east west goes I'm more west than JvR and I have tons of white-eyes in my garden, maybe I should take a closer look at them :lol:


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Unread postPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 12:06 pm 
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Thanks for the suggestions, deefstes. I got feedback from Etienne Marais confirming the ORWE ID. He writes:

Quote:
...from a look at your photos the birds you can see the peachy flanks which contrast nicely with the more whitish central belly and yellow undertail coverts. The bird also shows a greyish band on the upper chest and a large amount of bright yellow in the loral area (between eye and bill), and contrasting thin loral line. Also notable is the slim, slight looking build - Orange-river is generally a smaller, slimmer bird than Cape White-eye. When you see them again, take a listen to the call-notes, that of the Orange River White-eye are lower-pitched and "flatter" (more chattery) than those of Cape White-eye and are really quite different.

It is important to mention that Standerton is by no means that far from the known range of Orange-River White-eye. Orange River White-eye is a relatively new split and the distribution maps are still work in progress: to quote Roberts VII.... "widespread in Orange and Vaal R catchments,.... In S Africa, some eastward range expansion suspected."

While we need to treat recent records and reports with caution, I believe that this species is regular on the Vaal river near Parys, but is not infrequently recorded further east, and there are quite a few records from the Balfour area and a few from Suikerbosrand Nature reserve near Heidelberg. Given that it's habitat is often riverine bush and scrub, it is used to extending it's range along rivers, so I am not that surprised that it has showed up in Standerton, particularly that in a time of drought, such as now, we can expect many species to extend their ranges eastwards, as has been the case with species like Grey-backed Sparrowlark, Lark-Like Bunting etc.

While we need to treat recent records and reports with caution, I believe that this species is regular on the Vaal river near Parys, but is not infrequently recorded further east, and there are quite a few records from the Balfour area and a few from Suikerbosrand Nature reserve near Heidelberg. Given that it's habitat is often riverine bush and scrub, it is used to extending it's range along rivers, so I am not that surprised that it has showed up in Standerton, particularly that in a time of drought, such as now, we can expect many species to extend their ranges eastwards, as has been the case with species like Grey-backed Sparrowlark, Lark-Like Bunting etc.


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Last edited by Johan van Rensburg on Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu May 17, 2007 3:30 pm 
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I also received feedback from another ORWE expert, Rick Nuttall who wrote:

Quote:
Your Standerton record is indeed interesting and does, in my opnion, represent a notable range extension / vagrancy for the ORWE.

The two (white-eye) species are easily told apart on calls - particularly the loud contact call, which is what one would hear mostly at this time of year (i.e. males are not uttering their breeding season songs now). I describe the ORWE contact call as an urgent, clipped "pirri, pirri, pirri, pirri", compared to the more flutey, musical, somewhat longer "tyoouu, tyoouu, tyoouu, tyoouu" calls of the Cape White-eye. This is how I know that Cape White-eyes (grey-bellied birds) are around in the garden here, from June to about September (they seem to arrive at the time when exotic Cotoneaster bushes are in fruit, with their small red berries, on which the birds feed).


Since that first time that the ORWE visited the feeding station I have seen both the other white-eyes (virens virens and virens capensis) at the feeding station simultaneously. The ORWE visited on a few occasions too (with a mate), but never in the company of the Cape white-eyes.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 8:01 am 
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Johan van Rensburg wrote:
Since that first time that the ORWE visited the feeding station I have seen both the other white-eyes (virens virens and virens capensis) at the feeding station simultaneously. The ORWE visited on a few occasions too (with a mate), but never in the company of the Cape white-eyes.


When you say both the other white-eyes which ones are you talking about.

Zosterops virens (Cape) is common, you now have Zosterops pallidus (ORWE) and to the best of my knowledge the only other one is Zosterops senegalensis (African Yellow) which would be even more out of range in your garden than the ORWE


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Unread postPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 8:54 am 
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Sorry for any confusion - remember - there are two Cape white-eye variants, one with a yellow front and olive back (Zosterops virens virens), and one that looks a bit like the ORWE with grey front and olive-green back (Zosterops virens capensis). These are the birds that I find visiting together - they are only variants of the same specie.



I certainly would have been making somersaults if the yellow white-eye had pitched up too :lol:

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Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2007 1:32 am 
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 Post subject: Re: White-eye: Orange River
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:30 pm 
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In my garden Stilfontein North West.
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 Post subject: Re: White-eye: Orange River
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:18 pm 
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nice shot, Tilandi. Thanks for sharing it.
...and I like the expression on yours, arks


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 Post subject: Identification Help - General Birds
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 6:57 pm 
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Having spent the weekend in Tanqua, we saw some birds that we think we have correct and others that baffle.

2. This little chap appeared as it was getting dark. I thought it was a white-eye at first but the colouration is wrong

Image

Image

Thanks in anticipation.

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