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Identification Help - General Birds

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Karin Mitton
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:14 am

Pumbaa, when the sunbirds are not in their adult plumage, I struggle to ID some of them. I think you could be correct in your ID, but hopefully one of the experts will confirm 100%!

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wildtuinman
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by wildtuinman » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:11 am

Albert wrote:I'd say Dusky Indigobird male for #3, and that #1 is the female Dusky Indigobird.
#2, not at all sure, maybe a juvenile DI? Were these photographs all taken at roughly the same time?


I'd rather go with Village Indigobird instead.
The bill and leg colour can be very confusing as blood flow during a moment of excitement can change it from a dull pink to red in the shortest of times.

VillageIndigobird is perhaps the most mis-id'ed Indigobird purely for this reason and it is more often than not id'ed as Dusky.
Last edited by wildtuinman on Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by wildtuinman » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:14 am

I agree with Marico Sunbird.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Andy M » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:13 am

Thanks again wildtuinman. Any thoughts on bird #2 in Jesscan's query?
I guess that we will have to visit Marakele again to get better pics. :D

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by wildtuinman » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:31 am

Andy M wrote:Thanks again wildtuinman. Any thoughts on bird #2 in Jesscan's query?
I guess that we will have to visit Marakele again to get better pics. :D


It also shows features of an Indigobird.

I found it fascinating that Indigobirds and Paradise Whydahs were in breeding plumage till so late into the season. It probably had something to do with the good rain we had up here north so late in the season.

Not easy to be certain, but probably a female/young Village Indigobird.

A male usually has a harem of females around him.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Albert » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:40 am

wildtuinman wrote:
Albert wrote:I'd say Dusky Indigobird male for #3, and that #1 is the female Dusky Indigobird.
#2, not at all sure, maybe a juvenile DI? Were these photographs all taken at roughly the same time?


I'd rather go with Village Indigobird instead.
The bill and leg colour can be very confusing as blood flow during a moment of excitement can change it from a dull pink to red in the shortest of times.

VillageIndigobird is perhaps the most mis-id'ed Indigobird purely for this reason and it is more often than not id'ed as Dusky.


I find this very interesting WTM (and I accept that your ID is correct!). I am curious as to know why you ID this as Village rather than Dusky? If I, with my very limited ID skills consult Roberts, then the white bill and pinkish legs immediately suggests Dusky (and in this case the location seems to exclude the okavangoensis race of the Village Indigobird, according to Roberts).
So I am guessing from your ID that the okavangoensis race of the VIllage Indigobird is far more common in the Bushveld/Lowveld than the distribution maps seem to suggest?
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by wildtuinman » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:40 pm

Hi Albert,

I might of course be completely wrong. :lol:

It might even be a Purple Indigobird, which are far more mistaken for Dusky, than the Village is. :whistle:

I in general discard most location maps for Indigobirds, purely because I know that they are very often mis-id'ed. I have mis-id'ed them and I have seen experts mis-id them. :lol:

I don't even trust SABAP2 data much on them for the exact same reason, but it is perhaps more accurate than any other book out there and that goes for most species.

Dusky Indigobird (And I will place money on it that they were mis-id'ed) has only been recorded less than 3% in Marakele

http://sabap2.adu.org.za/species_info.php?spp=849

Whereas Purple - http://sabap2.adu.org.za/species_info.php?spp=850 (between 8 and 10%) and Village - http://sabap2.adu.org.za/species_info.php?spp=851 (between 5 and 7%) are far more logged for that pentad.

But this apart, it boils down on one thing though. Purple and Village Indigobirds are typical bushveld birds, who parasitize on Jameson's and Red-billed Firefinches, which are typical bushveld species.

Dusky indigobird parasitize on African Firefinch, which makes them both a lowland forest preferred inhabitant. Dare I even say, that I, myself, have never seen an African Firefinch in the bushveld and I also doubt that most of the ones which are recorded in the bushveld at correctly id'ed. It can be incredibly tough to distinguish between African and Jameson's Firefinches!!!!

As mentioned earlier, they are far more common along the east and north coast of SA as well as the forests of Barberton, Magoebaskloof and the Soutpansberg which are their typical habitat.

Also as mentioned in a previous post, the coloration of the legs and bill are determined by the blood flow in those parts. The more excited a bird gets, the brighter the legs and the bill will turn red. It can vary anything between a dull white to pink to almost red. If you spend some time with these birds when they are displaying, you will see it happen right in front of your eyes. Together with the angle of light when you photograph the Indigobird, the coloration can be greatly affected.

It is a really tough species to correctly id, if you don't take your time with them in the field. And of course, they always seem to prefer to display during overcast days, which makes it even more challenging!

We once had a great debate between Chris Patton, Richard Sowry and myself in Pafuri during a BBW on whether Dusky Indigobirds occur in Kruger or not. 2 of us doubted that it did, whilst one believed that it did. :lol: :lol:

So great was the confusion later on during the day, that we were really struggling to correctly id any Indigobirds at all!! And there our team name for the weekend was created - "The Colourblind Indigobirds"! :lol: :lol:
Last edited by wildtuinman on Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:53 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by wildtuinman » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:46 pm

I actually think that it is a Purple Indigobird now. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by hilda » Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:30 pm

Very interesting discussion Wildtuinman and Albert! :clap: :clap:

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by umtali1 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:12 pm

:think: now I'm totally confused :wall: :wall:
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by wildtuinman » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:34 pm

Ok, let me try and sum it up.

1. Dusky Indigobird is most likely to be confused with Purple Indigobird and then in a lesser degree with Village Indigobird.

2. Purple and Village Indigobirds are typical bushveld species.

3. Dusky Indigobird is more a low lying coastal and forest fringe inhabitant.

4. Take good care when you think you are looking at a Dusky and spend time with it to make sure that the pink legs are not just a result of enhanced blood flow due to the excitement in the case of a Purple Indigobird.

5. Look for possible hosts species to assist in nailing an id.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by umtali1 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:38 pm

Thank you kind sir :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:
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https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?&t=93948

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by arks » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:56 pm

Fascinatiing and illuminating, WTM :gflower:
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Guinea Pig » Wed Aug 02, 2017 4:42 pm

Breeding season approaching = Weavers and bishops and whatnots confusing the bedinges out of me. :lol:

Just for fun, does anybody want to take a shot at these two?

ImageIMG_6162 by Santie Quanjer, on Flickr

ImageIMG_6149 by Santie Quanjer, on Flickr

This is the Red Bishop male around the garden, so that it isn't. Maybe females? I always thought they were plainer.

ImageIMG_6071 by Santie Quanjer, on Flickr

This is a female weaver around the garden, not that either.

ImageIMG_6131 by Santie Quanjer, on Flickr
Looking forward 5 nights at Satara in November. :dance:

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Karin Mitton
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread post by Karin Mitton » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:22 pm

A yellow-crowned bishop perhaps? They have that very distinct eyebrow.


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