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James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on What Bird is This? #5

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Sedge warbler.

Senior Digital Ranger

can it be a thrush ??

Hello James!
I think it is a Spotted Flycatcher, it is an adult. I can’t tell if it is a female or a male because both sexes are similar. Thank you for a fantastic blog!

I am calling it as a female Violet-backed Starling (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster). Males are always a dead give away with the iridescent plum colour. Heavily streaked below points to the female. As they are breeding migrants it could also possibly be a juvenile but as I can’t see the eye colour and it might be a bit early in the season for a juvenile to be fully fledged I’ll stick with a female.

Really enjoying the challenges. It’s always nice to brush up the migrant birding skills when they start arriving back.

What was the previous bird? was it a dark chanting goshawk? I can’t find the answers

Hi James,
Off the bat it looks like a female Violet-backed Starling but the light on the pic is not that great in the throat area, so it could be a male bird in transitional plumage. The belly stripes, angle of the leg to the body, length of the leg and very shallow angle between beak and forehead are what I am relying on. Also, as far as I can see the back coloration fits. How about sending the raw file so we can play with the light to get a view of what you saw through your binoculars, or would that spoil the fun?

Yikes! This is not much of a clue….. I’m going to have to find another bird book.

Groundscraper Thrush.

James, It looks like a Violet-Backed Starling Female.

Female violet-backed starling is my guess.

Hi Everyone,

Some good guesses here, a number of which are correct.
The answer will be revealed in this Friday’s Week in Pictures…

Well, it’s very streked and it has a short bill. I would say either female violet-backed starling or spotted flycatcher. The former is more likely in my mind.

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