It doesn’t get much tougher than the last bird challenge we presented. The juvenile Long-tailed Paradise Whydah that we are 95% sure it was had many people stumped, including most of us here! If you managed to get the right answer, be very proud!
I imagine if every bird we put up was almost impossible to ID, people would start to lose interest, so we’ll try and oscillate between easy and tricky. It won’t always be a clear-cut adult though; expect juveniles, females, non-breeding plumages, rare vagrants, and even common birds viewed from funny angles.
The reality is that out in the field, you don’t often have birds sitting a few metres away, patiently waiting to be identified. Sometimes all you have to go on is a fleeting glimpse through the undergrowth, or a long distance view through shaky binoculars of a bird on the wing against a bright background. This is where the real skill comes in, with top birders able to make snap calls from a bare minimum of information.
Today’s bird was quite cooperative. It flew down onto a log close to where we were parked watching some hippos, and then it fluttered over to the edge of the waterhole to snatch a quick drink from a puddle of rainwater. We had a long lens with us, so were able to get a usable photo:
It’s significantly easier than last month’s challenge, but there are a few species that one might get confused between, so take your time when deciding.
The answer will be in this Friday’s Week in Pictures #360.