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Indigobird, Purple

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Moegaai
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Indigobird, Purple

Unread postby Moegaai » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:14 pm

English Name: Purple Indigobird

Old English Name: Purple Widow Finch
Afrikaans Name: Witpootblouvinkie
Scientific Name: Vidua purpurascens
Roberts No: 865

Image

Identification: Like all Widow Finches an all-black bird with lighter, irridescent primary flight feathers. White to light-pink bill with white to light pink legs.

Distribution: Fairly common resident associated with bushveld habitats in northern South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and northern Botswana. Brood parasite, parasitising Jameson's Firefinch, so overlapping distribution.

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Re: Indigobird, Purple

Unread postby Moegaai » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:24 pm

I saw my first Purple Indigobird in a singular Poplar tree on the Hartebeeshoek Road next to a stream. But thereafter amazingly saw it perched on the EXACT SAME BRANCH on four occassions:

1. 21 Jan 09 @ ~12h00
2. 29 Jan 09 @ ~12h00
3. 17 Feb 09 @ ~09h30
4. 17 Feb 09 @ ~12h00

So, I guess there is basically a "guaranteed" sighting for the time being! GPS Coordinates 25°50'14.7"S, 27°47'2.47"E.

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wildtuinman
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Re: Indigobird, Purple

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Jan 14, 2013 7:44 am

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Re: Indigobird, Purple

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:56 am

Image

Image
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby jaytea » Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:53 am

Hi guys!

This bird was near Mopani in November - I thought indigo bird in a mixed party but now I"m looking at the photos and its maybe a widow bird? They were hanging out together on the ground...

Image

Here is the friend
Image

Thanks!
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Johan van Rensburg
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:14 am

jaytea wrote: I thought indigobird

Don't change your mind, jaytea... This bird is in transitional stage, typical for November... most likely dusky. The "friend" is another, but still in the very early stages of transitional moult.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby jaytea » Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:20 am

:gflower: Johan!

Thats what I had in my chicken scratch notes - dusky indigo bird!! :dance: :dance:
Thanks!
A New Species each day! KNP Nov 2013
2015!
Nov 7-9 Skukuza, 10 Satara, 11-13 Mathikithi Trail, 14/15 Mopani, 16/17 Punda Maria
Nov 18-20 MAPUNGUBWE
Nov 21 Pafuri! , 22/23 Letaba
Nov 24-26 BALULE BASH
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:11 am

I am sorry, but I don't agree with Dusky Indigobird, which I in fact reckon is exceptionally scarce in Kruger, if it does exist in Kruger at all. :D

I'd id this as a Purple Indigobird.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:50 pm

wildtuinman wrote: Dusky Indigobird is exceptionally scarce in Kruger, if it does exist in Kruger at all.

I am keen to hear your motivation for this scarcity statement, WTM. Roberts MM, F. Peacock (LBJ's) and SABAP2 show distribution maps to the contrary.

I am in no way suggesting that your ID is wrong, in fact Purple is often indistinguishable from Dusky, although, in this case, the first of jaytea's pix appears to have an orange hue to its legs (not diagnostic, but a good clue...), but maybe that is just my take (eye of the beholder).
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:16 am

Johan van Rensburg wrote:
wildtuinman wrote: Dusky Indigobird is exceptionally scarce in Kruger, if it does exist in Kruger at all.

I am keen to hear your motivation for this scarcity statement, WTM. Roberts MM, F. Peacock (LBJ's) and SABAP2 show distribution maps to the contrary.

I am in no way suggesting that your ID is wrong, in fact Purple is often indistinguishable from Dusky, although, in this case, the first of jaytea's pix appears to have an orange hue to its legs (not diagnostic, but a good clue...), but maybe that is just my take (eye of the beholder).


Hi Johan, rightly so. All maps show their distribution as such.

I have two motivations:

1. How many African Firefinches (Dusky's host) have you seen in Kruger?

2. To what extend does blood flow to the bare parts of the legs and bill play a role in colouration?

My answers:

1. I have only ever seen 1, in Pafuri. Furthermore to this. In fact, during 3 BBW at Punda we have every time argued the id of Indigobirds in Pafuri and around Punda. So much so, that Richard Sowry and Chris Patton on one occasion called truce on opposing opinions after 30mins arguing! :lol: :lol: African Firefinch's habitat is described in SASOL as thickets on woodland, savanna and riverine scrub which one would associate with places like Kurisa Moyo, Woodbush Forest, Pietermaritzburg and the south and north coast of KZN. Certainly not that of the mopani schrubveld around Mopani. Jameson's Firefinch;'s habitat on the other hand is described as thcikets and grassy tangles in savana and dry wwodland. Now I am not saying for a moment that the Tsendze area south of Mopani is not good for African Firefinch. I have no doubt that it is! The fact that I have also never seen African Firefinch in that area also does not mean that they do not occur there. I just feel that the majority of records for African Firefinch and Dusky Indigobird on SABAP2 are miss-id'ed birds of co-incidentally as colourful as they may be, two of the most common mis-id'ed bird species. The reporting rate for both species are lower than that of Purple Indigobird and Jameson's Firefinch in the Mopani pentad. A classic example of Firefinch miss'id recently popped up on Facebook of a bird photographed at Walter Sisulu botanical gardens in Roodepoort. That id too drew quite a number of comments and the outcome was that it was not an African, but a Jameson's Firefinch.

2. I have personally seen some real experts make a mistake with this feature. I am taking one classic example. A bird at Kgomo-Kgomo. It was id'ed by Rob Geddes as Dusky indigobird and acknowledged as such by Etienne Marais. Co-incidently I saw the exact same bird (I knew it to be the same bird, because the twig it was sitting on on Rob's photo was the exact same twig showing on my photo!) the day before Rob saw it and was flabbergasted at how the leg colour changed from pale to very pink/orange. The excitement of the bird and accompanied blood flow alters the bare part colouration big time. I have since witnessed it on quite a few occasions with the latest being in Mooketsi earlier this year. I looked at the bird through the bins and its leg colouration changed right in front of my eyes!

Here are my photos of Purple Indigobirds.

The first bird is the Kgomo-Kgomo bird discussed above.

Image

The second bird is a Kruger bird snapped at Punda Maria.

Image

Note the pink/orange leg colouration.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby DotDan » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:21 pm

Great write up WTM and I have to agree here for what my opinion is worth. I have only ever seen African Firefinches around higher altitude forest area's and coastal forests such as Moegabaskloof and the south coast of KZN.

That being said, I am still(until proven wrong) convinced about my sightings of African Firefinch around BergnDal a few years ago. If they are in fact African Firefinches, and I think that habitat suits them better, it might go to show that Dusky could be found in those parts of the park.

I can remember the debates of that BBW WTM. It never came to a conclusion.

Anyway, here are my African Firefinches from BnD. Care to comment?

Image

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:40 pm

Do you still remember our team name that year?

"Colourblind indigo spotters"

Daan, I think you have nice proof right there. That grey crown is very distinct. Nicely done!

What makes the Firefinch id so tough, is the fact that they just never sit still for a split second.
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby DotDan » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:54 pm

:lol: Ja we definitely saw way too many Indigobirds that confused the begeezes out of us. I also have the same shot of that Pruple Indigobird that troubled us so much at Punda.

Jaytea's bird looks like a young one, but even so I always go with the hard facts when it comes to ID'ing a bird and the Dusky's I have seen show a prominent orange leg, not slightly pink or reddish.. Might not be so prominent in youngsters, but it is so tough with these birds and for that I would not be confident in ticking any bird without seeing a proper ID feature.

I found a Dusky Indigobird at the Barberton Mountain reserve in December and I could still remember thinking to myself that once you see those orange legs you cannot mistake it again.


Hell, but quickly going through google, there are so many wrong ID's of Dusky's it isn't even funny.

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby jaytea » Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:50 pm

Thanks Joahn, WTM and Dotdan for all your awesome info on the Indigobird/Firefinch riddle!! :gflower:
A New Species each day! KNP Nov 2013
2015!
Nov 7-9 Skukuza, 10 Satara, 11-13 Mathikithi Trail, 14/15 Mopani, 16/17 Punda Maria
Nov 18-20 MAPUNGUBWE
Nov 21 Pafuri! , 22/23 Letaba
Nov 24-26 BALULE BASH
Nov 27 - Dec 3 - Ngwenya Lodge
Dec 4 Biyamiti


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