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Pipit, Plain-backed

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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arks
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by arks » Sat Nov 07, 2009 9:10 pm

Another of my "mystery birds" :wink: Is it possibly a zitting cisticola? Seen on Darling Hills Road, 23 August 2009.

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Rusty Justy
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by Rusty Justy » Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:04 pm

Definately a Pipit, but which one?! :hmz:
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by Falconry4ever » Sun Nov 08, 2009 3:33 pm

Rusty Justy wrote:Definately a Pipit, but which one?! :hmz:

Plain-backed Pipit. See long hind claw.
Go look at some of my photos (mostly birds) @ http://www.outdoorphoto.co.za/forum/photopost/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=20417

Expect the unexpected...

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arks
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by arks » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:51 am

Falconry4ever wrote:
Rusty Justy wrote:Definately a Pipit, but which one?! :hmz:

Plain-backed Pipit. See long hind claw.

Does anyone else agree ... or disagree? :?

I'd be very pleased to accept that ID as that would be a new tick for me :dance: And yes, now that I look more closely, I can indeed see a long hind claw in my photos.
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by Rusty Justy » Tue Nov 10, 2009 2:17 pm

If thats one of the plainbacked pipits, Plainbacked seems the most likely :D But is there any form of streaking or not?!
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Rusty Justy
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by Rusty Justy » Wed May 12, 2010 6:08 pm

Hi All,

Here are some images of a pipit I saw Just outside of Grahamstown, it was seen on the top of a mountain (Not really that high). The grassy slopes were burning with a large run-away fire while I was up there, so this could have attracted any of the 4 pipit species, so I feel habitat may not be as telling as we would normally like it to be :D


Image

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As we found it in the road after it landed, I do recall a slight bit of tail wagging. Although this may have be influenced by us, but who knows.

The four species found here are,

Long-billed
Plain-Backed
Buffy
African

I have my idea of the ID, but would just like to see what the general trend is, let the game begin!!! :twisted:
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by pantera leo » Wed May 12, 2010 6:54 pm

I'm really bad when it comes to Pipits but my gut says Plain-backed Pipit!

Could we maybe use this opportunity to learn more amount Pipit ID from the pro's please! :pray:

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by Barcud » Wed May 12, 2010 8:28 pm

OK RJ,

I'll have a go, but don't count on me getting this one right!

This bird seems to have an unstreaked back which rules out African and Long-billed. African would be more heavily marked and show moustachial stripes, while Long-billed looks just plain wrong giss wise for me (I can't explain that away easily!).

Pink and yellow bill base is not a good character to go on as it depends on air temperatures, mood of the bird, time of year etc. Look at the colour difference between pics 1 & 2 and pic 5 to see that bill base colour is variable depending on light conditions.

Buffy tends to have richer flank colouring than long-billed (in my very limited experience of these two) and the stance of this bird also seems good for Buffy from what I've seen.

The back colouration looks more like Buffy than Plain-backed and the bill looks too short for Plain-backed.

I'm opting for Buffy Pipit, but expecting to get shot down in flames very quickly :doh:

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by Niall » Thu May 13, 2010 11:26 am

Hi RJ, Barcud

Buffy and Plain-backed are two of the hardest to separate, and as Barcud says, the bill and leg colour vary quite a bit. Buffy tends to be more on the pink side, and Plain backed more on the yellow side.

Habitat is also a little varied. Plain backed seems to favour rocky hillsides, Buffy more open grassier areas - as RJ points out, the fire may have attracted the birds into an area that is not normally their favoured habitat.

Posture: Buffy likes to puff its chest out fairly often, whereas Plain backed has a more "normal" stance.

Distribution: I would think Plain backed is more widely distributed along the Eastern Cape coast (near Grahamstown), and this is fairly well supported by the SABAP2 data:

Plain backed distribution
Buffy distribution

Images of the birds can be seen on my web page(that is saying that I have the ID's correct ;-)!)

Interesting birds, and we all still have a bit to learn.

Cheers

Niall.

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by MattAxel » Fri May 18, 2012 10:28 pm

No problem Maurice

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adrianp
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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by adrianp » Sat May 19, 2012 3:58 pm

I'm Ok with 2 and 4 being plain backed. The lower mandible is often (but not always) yellow in plain backed and pink in buffy. Also, some races of plain backed have a more slate grey back, a feature not normally found in buffy.

Now to wait for Faasie Peakock or Lizette to tell us that we are all wrong :think:

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by MattAxel » Sat May 19, 2012 4:41 pm

adrianp wrote:I'm Ok with 2 and 4 being plain backed. The lower mandible is often (but not always) yellow in plain backed and pink in buffy. Also, some races of plain backed have a more slate grey back, a feature not normally found in buffy.


Yes I agree about the mandible colour being pink more often for buffy and yellow for plain-backed more often, but light can play tricks on you sometimes with regard to mandible colour, for example if you look at bird 4 the mandible looks yellow/orange in the first pic, but more pinkish in the next two pics.

And yes you do get the more slate grey form of Plain-backed which is the A. l. leucophrys race mainly found in Western Cape. The birds found more North are mainly the A. l. enunciator race which are a warmer, more cinnamon brown, like this bird. As far as I know these races aren't actually strictly recognized anymore, but they definitely have different colour variations.

adrianp wrote:Now to wait for Faasie Peakock or Lizette to tell us that we are all wrong :think:


haha I hope not, especially since my main point of reference here was Faansie's book 'Pipits of Southern Africa" :lol:

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by adrianp » Sun May 20, 2012 4:08 pm

MattAxel wrote:haha I hope not, especially since my main point of reference here was Faansie's book 'Pipits of Southern Africa" :lol:


Now that's putting the pipit among the Peacocks :P

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Re: Identification Help - LBJs

Unread post by MattAxel » Mon May 21, 2012 4:07 pm

I tend to agree with adrianp on the above :thumbs_up:

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Re: Pipit, Plain-backed

Unread post by DotDan » Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:47 am

Here is a classic example of a Plain Backed Pipit.

The yellow lower mandible, the appearance of a heavy belly and obviously the plain back.

In the field, one good feature to look out for when trying to differentiate between Plain Backed and Buffy, is the tail wagging. I spent 30 minutes watching these Plain Backed Pipits forage and walk around my car and not once did any of them raise their tail higher than a "imaginary" horizontal line. Buffy Pipit tends to raise its tail much higher and also much slower tail wagging.

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