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Quailfinch, African

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Candy's Style
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Quailfinch, African

Unread postby Candy's Style » Fri Mar 14, 2008 8:21 pm

Quail Finch
Gewone Kwartelvinkie
Ortygospiza atricollis

Habitat: Open short grassveld, vleis, edges of dams and pans, open grassy hillsides and dry Kalahari sandplains.
Habits: In pairs when breeding, otherwise, gregarious in small flocks of up to 20 or more birds. Entirely terrestrial and very hard to see. It sits close, taking off at one's feet with clinking calls, usually flying with erratic jerky flight for some distance before landing while nesting birds take off without calling. Forages on ground, catches termites in flight and drinks frequently. Flies high between feeding grounds. When displaying the male flies high then plummets to the ground with a clinking song.
Food: Seeds, insects and spiders.

A lifer for me recently but haven't seen one since. She was on her own at a mud pool but quite happy in our presence. 8) Oh and PS: the reason we found her was because we stopped to have a look at a jackal's dung when she flew in next to it :dance:

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In Kruger :P

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wildtuinman
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:34 am

Where did you see it, Candy?

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Unread postby Candy's Style » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:22 pm

At Rietvlei Nature Reserve (PTA) :D
In Kruger :P

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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Quailfinch, African

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:33 am

Amazingly we have had only one posting of this fascinating timid little bird. Maybe it is because they are so well camouflaged? One mostly finds them in pairs, creeping along short, open grassland especially if there is water nearby. Quiet and unobtrusive they would forage beneath any clump of vegetation. When approached, they freeze until you nearly step on them…

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…like this male bird did, making discovery a big challenge. When flushed the pair will often fly off together, going high and far… two black specks that leaves the observer non the wiser, especially if not experienced in the antics of this rather attractive species.

Outside of the breeding season they congregate in flocks, sometimes quite large when literally 1000s (OK, thats exaggerating a bit) of these little birds would fly out from under your feet when you walk in prime habitat. When one flies, 30 odd would alight all around!

One can tell breeding male and female apart by the darker upper mandible and grey (not black) face of the female.

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This female African quailfinch collects nesting material from the regurgitated pellet of some large raptor, containing fur and feathers. It is generally believed that only the male collects nesting material, making this observation rather fascinating! Both participate in building the nest.
671 Latest lifer: Black coucal

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hilda
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Re: Quailfinch, African

Unread postby hilda » Sun Dec 22, 2013 11:02 am

Very interesting information, thanks Johan and Candy's Style! Wish we had more time to visit Rietvlei again! :clap: :clap:
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Re: Quailfinch, African

Unread postby Waterbuck » Sun Dec 22, 2013 2:02 pm

I find it quite fascinating that this post was first put up in 2008.........and as JvR said above, no posts on this special little bird since. The recent Balule Bash delivered its fair share of good birds, including the Quailfinch. I have however not seen them at Rietvlei and will be looking out for them when I bird there one of these days........
In spite of its fascinating colours, its one of those little birds that just seem to melt into the surroundings.
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