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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? #12

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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.

Plain-Backed Pipit

Hi James,
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”!

Richard’s Pipit?

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.

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10 April, 2798
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