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Wheatears and Sunbird, Nakuru, Kenya November 2019

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Old Wednesday 1st July 2020, 07:47   #1
Seth Miller
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Wheatears and Sunbird, Nakuru, Kenya November 2019

Going through photos from our trip to Kenya in November and would appreciate some help.

1) I had identified this as Pied Wheatear, but someone suggested Abyssinian, and now I'm unsure.
2) Pretty confident that this is a Northern, but just want to make sure.
3) Scarlet-chested were definitely the most common sunbird, but this one seems to have a dark throat so maybe Hunters? That'd be a lifer if I'm right. Only photo of this one sadly.
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Old Wednesday 1st July 2020, 12:09   #2
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Hi Seth,

I think 1 is Pied, as you thought. I've only seen lugubris Abyssinian (in Ethiopia) but looking at the books the white chest of your bird almost meeting the white-ish cap at the shoulder looks good for Pied but not for vauriei Abyssinian. Also, it would be a good catch in Nakuru.

I'll leave 2 for specialists.

I think the third bird looks like juvenile male Scarlet-chested.
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Old Wednesday 1st July 2020, 23:06   #3
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All I can add is that 2 isn't Northern, or Isabelline.
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Old Thursday 2nd July 2020, 00:21   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jogresh View Post
All I can add is that 2 isn't Northern, or Isabelline.
In which case, female Pied would be all that's left as a possibility.
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Old Thursday 2nd July 2020, 13:29   #5
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Why isn't no. 2 a female/1w Northern wheatear? The tail length in relation to the pp seems to rule out both Pied and BE wheatears, as does the rather pronounced supercillium? Issy can be excluded on the basis of the dark centered median coverts? The feather tracts are too dark and "busy" across the remiges for Issy, I think only the alula and primaries should be dark on an otherwise plain looking wing.
Agree the first bird looks better for Pied than Abyssinian.
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Old Thursday 2nd July 2020, 15:22   #6
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Image 2 is very interesting. I don't think you can really tell what the tail length compared with primary tips when the tail is hidden. I do not believe it to be Northern.

I would age this as a first-winter and sex it as a male

The default species is Pied, but there is something about this bird that doesn't sit right for that:-

The black across the lores extends a little behind the eye, but certainly no further and there is no indication that it cuts across to the the wings.

The colour of the upperparts looks quite (warm) brown and does not appear to have any of the darker centres or scaly appearance (especially on the scapulars) I associate with Pied.

I wonder if there are any other photos of it that might make things clearer?

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Old Thursday 2nd July 2020, 19:09   #7
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My first thought for no. 2 when I saw it yesterday was 1cy male Black-eared but the seemingly short tail put me off. So I didn't reply... But now as Brian mentions it, it is indeed partly hidden behind stone. I didn't realise that before. I agree, more photos would be appreciated!
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Old Friday 3rd July 2020, 15:04   #8
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Thanks for the help all, and sorry I haven't responded sooner as BirdForum hasn't been working well for me the last few days (I have trouble getting it to load, but all other sites work fine)

Apparently I didn't realize quite how difficult wheatears can be... Here are a few more photos which will hopefully help. If there is a certain feature you need to see better you can say and I'll see if I have any photos with that angle.
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Old Friday 3rd July 2020, 16:54   #9
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I still think it is a 1w Northern, but if Brian doesn't agree, then it almost certainly isn't one! I could accept that it is a Black-eared wheatear, but I think Pied can be fairly safely excluded?
I've been caught out by the strength and aspect of daylight before with Wheatears - not an easy group.
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Old Friday 3rd July 2020, 19:51   #10
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It would be good to get a photo that shows the wing tip in relation to tail length better. Still not really assessable in the new pictures...
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Old Saturday 4th July 2020, 11:51   #11
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I don't understand why there is such a problem with the wheatear in the second (and additional ) photos. Even with the slightly obstructed view of the tip of the tail in the first photo, is it not a quite typical Northern Wheatear?
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Old Saturday 4th July 2020, 12:32   #12
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Thanks for your input Killian, I'm glad to hear you agree. Perhaps an effect of strong sunlight making the mantle tone washed out than we are used to at more northern latitudes?
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Old Saturday 4th July 2020, 15:58   #13
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Here's another photo I had meant to attach last time.
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Old Saturday 4th July 2020, 20:53   #14
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To me the back just seemed to be too plain sandy-brown lacking any grey tones and the contrast to the rather narrow pale fringed blackish wing too strong for a November Northern Wheatear... structurally it's a Northern, I agree.
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