About the Author

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? #14

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Stoked that the bird quiz is back. Winter birding is still great. Spent half the day today birding a Pretoria grassland and still managed to get just over 70 species. Can’t wait for the migrants to come back though. We got lucky today with somewhat migratory bird when we connected with a Fairy Flycatcher which is a winter migrant for Gauteng.

For this Bird Quiz I’m calling it as a Sabota Lark (Calendulauda sabota). They seem to like hopping around the bushveld and the white eyebrow is quite distinctive.

Female or non-breeding male pintailed Whydah.

I immediately thought cisticola. However, they are many, all similar in looks and can be found in grassland areas. Some can only be distinguished by their call or slight difference in coloring (lighter or darker). Without the ability to hear the call or a side by side comparison, I am thinking the one in the picture is a zitting cisticola. Also, Thank you for these bird challenges. Even though I don’t always get it right, I find myself working hard to identify. They also make me appreciate how knowledgeable field guides have to be to do the work you do. The sheer number of birds, by sight and sound, you need to be able to identify is mind boggling to me, especially when they don’t just sit still out in the open and wait to be identified in most cases.

I’m pretty good with ostriches (!), fish eagles, bataleurs, crested barbets, and lilac breasted rollers, but the lbj’s defeat me. I’m looking forward to some serious birding on my next visit.

Very challenging. Their small size, posterior vs. anterior perspective, seasonal plumage variation and adolescence vs. subadult vs. adult coloration. Plus the thousands of African birdlife! Very challenging indeed and my hat is off to those with the passion and patience to pursue ornithology.

James, is it Kittlitz’s Plover

Saddle-billed stork???🤣 I do not have a clue, but will look forward to reading TWIP to see the true ID on this little fellow! Thanks for stumping me! 🤨

Melodious Lark

It’s a little speckled LBJ. That’s all I can say. Not very helpful I know! Looking forward to reading what the other oh so much more knowledgeable Tweeters say. Wendy M

I wish I knew more about little brown birds- perhaps my next trip to Africa will offer more experience in identifying these little darlings.

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