We’re getting into rather dangerous territory here, but more for ourselves than anything else.
Every so often a bird surfaces on Londolozi that we haven’t recorded here, or at least not for a long time. Last year we started noticing Yellow-bellied Greenbuls around the camp. Easily mistaken at a glance for a Sombre Greenbul (which we see plenty of), it got us wondering how many times they’d been overlooked or just written off as the more common species.
An Olive Bushshrike was seen a few years ago, and although we’re officially just outside their distribution range, it is certainly possible that there are more around than we think, and we make the assumption that they are the more common Orange-Breasted variety when we see a flash of colour in the undergrowth.
Which brings us to today’s bird…
We’re putting in two pictures so that you have a bit more evidence to go on, but we’ll come right out with it and say we aren’t 100% sure what it is.
We think we know – we certainly know the family – but have yet to confirm it with the birding authorities. Our arguments centred around two species – neither of which get recorded here often – but we’re convinced by now that it’s one not the other.
There are two other of species from this same family that we see regularly at Londolozi, but the one we suspect these photos are of we don’t see here. At least we can’t remember it being recorded. Looking it up in the books, we should see them here, as we are inside its range and we have sections of the reserve that match its habitat choice, so if it is what we think it is (and we may well be wrong), then chances are we’ve actually been seeing them all the time but writing them off as the more common members of the family.
Have a crack, we’ll tell you what we think it is in the Week in Pictures on Friday, and we’ll run a post next week going into a bit more detail as to why we came to our conclusions.
Filed under Bird ID Challenge Birds Wildlife
It looks like a courser. It does not seem to have bands in the photo. The coursers that is not seen in our area is the doublebanded and threebanded that seem to be the closest guess. I can be totally wrong.
This certainly seems to be a Pipit and as far as I can see the toss up is between Buffy and Plain-backed. Getting this right will depend, I suspect on the interpretation of 1) colour in the picture, buffy or white; pinkish or yellowish etc. and 2) how one sees the jizz of the bird relative to the the one not pictured here. I am going with Buffy as the best fit, and this is based on Faansie Peacock’s excellent book “LBJs – The definitive guide to Southern Africa’s Little Brown Jobs. Those who observed it will probably have seen the extent of it’s tail-wagging. If deep and exaggerated this would suggest Buffy, if relatively minimal then Plain-backed comes back into play. I sticking with Buffy or “too hard to call”!
My guess? A Buffy Pipit. And I can think of a couple of reasons why you haven’t seen one. Long grass is the first. Secondly, they are by nature thin on the ground – they don’t usually flock together in groups. Thirdly, Londolozi is situated in an area of lesser demographic distribution for these birds – they’re there but the demographic map is coloured pale pink rather than the dark pink that indicates denser distribution (Newman Birds of Southern Africa). Fourthly – you were watching the leopards…
Looking at the size and shape of the bird I’m sure its one of the large brown pipits. Looking at the back it’s not mottled so that would rule out the African and Long-billed Pipits. That leaves The Plain-backed and Buffy Pipits… This doesn’t make it any easier as both of these species are so similar. I’m going to go with the Buffy Pipit (Anthus vaalensis) with this bird. To me the base of the lower mandible looks more pink than yellow but that could be the light playing tricks.
Buffy pipit. Pink lower mandible and lighter overall than plain-backed.
It looks like a Pipit to me. I’m going to guess Buffy Pipit.
Two guesses: First, Greater Roadrunner. Second: Groundscrapper Thrush.