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Thrush, Sentinel Rock-

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Johan van Rensburg
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Thrush, Sentinel Rock-

Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:35 am

The Sentinel Rock-thrush, Monticola exploratory, is a South-African endemic with a liking for grasslands on rocky hills, most often preferring altitude. In its southern distribution its habitat differs extending into fynbos and Karoo. The sexes differ markedly in plumage, this bird photographed near Wakkerstroom being a typical adult male. Female birds lack the grey head.

Image

The middle toe of this bird is distinctly longer than the two toes flanking it (hence the Afrikaans name “Langtoonkliplyster”), a feature not seen in any of the other Southern African rock-thrushes. I tried to find some reference to possible uses of this elongated digit, but came up empty. The bird feeds almost exclusively on insects and initially my unsubstantiated thoughts were that it would use the toe to dig out grubs, for instance.

If anyone has some information on how this feature may be applied, I’d love to hear from you.
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Re: Thrush, Sentinel Rock-

Unread post by Ladybirder » Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:44 am

Very nice photo Johan, Also for the interesting info. I always wondered why "Langtoon" the photo shows that long toe distinctly.Thank you for sharing it.

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Re: Thrush, Sentinel Rock-

Unread post by wildtuinman » Mon May 13, 2013 7:42 am

Sentinel rock-Thrush - Suikerbosrand

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Re: Thrush, Sentinel Rock-

Unread post by Highbury » Fri May 24, 2013 7:56 am

WTM - Can you comment on how easily spotted they are at Suikerbosrand , and what time of year ?

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Re: Thrush, Sentinel Rock-

Unread post by wildtuinman » Fri May 24, 2013 8:02 am

Hi Highbury,

They move in at wintertime from the higher lying Drakensberg range. At the moment, they are fairly easy to see at Suikerbos along the highest section of the reserve. Look for them where they sit on rocks. The only challenge you have is that the vegetation along the road is fairly high so a high ground clearance vehicle is going to make your task easier. A Yellow-breasted Pipit was also also seen and photographed last weekend by another group. So together with the African Rock Pipit seen 3 weeks ago, I would highly recommend Suikerbos at the moment. :thumbs_up:
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