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Lark? id Lake Sibaya KZN ZA june 2019

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Old Monday 27th July 2020, 11:40   #1
Andy Hurley
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Lark? id Lake Sibaya KZN ZA june 2019

Please help with this bird's I.D. from Lake Sibaya KZN South Africa June 2019

Thanks very much!
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Old Monday 27th July 2020, 14:17   #2
MacNara
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I think it can only be Sabota Lark.
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Old Monday 27th July 2020, 14:37   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacNara View Post
I think it can only be Sabota Lark.
I agree, unsure which race occurs there?
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Old Monday 27th July 2020, 15:24   #4
Andy Hurley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacNara View Post
I think it can only be Sabota Lark.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dwatsonbirder View Post
I agree, unsure which race occurs there?
Must be, but my thoughts were that Sabota had a strong malar stripe.

AFAIK (ie the Sasol) the following occur there:

Sabota Lark
Rufous-naped Lark
Flappet Lark
and the Chestnut-backed Sparrow-Lark

The Sasol does mention that upper part colour vary regionally, so this must be one of those.
Up in the Kruger National Park and further south in eSwatini the Sabotas I saw were much darker/brown on the mantle. This bird is very grey and has a hint of rufous at the edges of the wing, which it is supposed to always lack. I dismissed the other regionally possibilities too, so only leaving Sabota.

Thanks very much for your help.
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Old Monday 27th July 2020, 17:41   #5
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Isn't it a Flappet Lark? The rufous in the wing and general structure should rule out Sabota Lark, I would suggest.
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Old Tuesday 28th July 2020, 04:45   #6
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On reflection and looking at related photos from my collection, I think this is Rufous-naped Lark (which, whatever books say, doesn't always (or even usually) have a rufous nape).
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Old Tuesday 28th July 2020, 05:02   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMW View Post
Isn't it a Flappet Lark? The rufous in the wing and general structure should rule out Sabota Lark, I would suggest.
Thanks DMW. I always thought they were very reddish and fairly dark-backed, going by the Sasol. My bird appears to have a crest although it is not raised, which the Flappet Lark lacks according to the Sasol

Looking at the structure of this bird looks very similar to my bird.

If it is a Flappet Lark,the local subspecies pintoi, which I can't find a picture of, then it will be a lifer. Number 407 for my South Africa list.
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Old Tuesday 28th July 2020, 09:01   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacNara View Post
On reflection and looking at related photos from my collection, I think this is Rufous-naped Lark (which, whatever books say, doesn't always (or even usually) have a rufous nape).
Thanks MacNara. This has also been suggested elsewhere. I have a photographic field guide of the Kruger and the closest I get is the Flappet, going by the grey mantle, leg and bill shape and colour, but there is that crest, which the local Flappet lacks...

Thanks again for your help in what appears to be quite a difficult bird to identify. I wish I had side and frontal views to look at.
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Old Tuesday 28th July 2020, 09:26   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Hurley View Post
Thanks MacNara. This has also been suggested elsewhere. I have a photographic field guide of the Kruger and the closest I get is the Flappet, going by the grey mantle, leg and bill shape and colour, but there is that crest, which the local Flappet lacks...

Thanks again for your help in what appears to be quite a difficult bird to identify. I wish I had side and frontal views to look at.
I don't seem to be doing very well. But the crest is often down on Rufous-naped, and your bird clearly has reddish on the crown. Nonetheless, after all, I think the bill isn't big enough and also it should be redder underneath, shouldn't it?

I've never had much luck with Flappet Lark on my trips to Africa, in that when I've seen it, it has been flapping, so I'm not experienced as to what it should look like just on the ground. But I thought (as you say) that it should be much redder overall and on the underparts, whereas we can see from your third photo that the undercarriage of your bird is whiteish.

Returning to Sabota: there seems to be a lot of colour variation in this species. I have even seen birds (Namibia) which were black and white, but ID'd as Sabota by very knowledgeable people on BF.

When I first said it was Sabota, I had noticed the rufous in the wing which DMW says should rule out Sabota, but the most external visible wing feather is black, and if you look at Sasol, the 'small-billed eastern form' which this should be on location shows this pattern in the illustration, as well as a smaller bill than western forms, but strongly black above and grey below which your bird also shows.

Maybe my first impression was right, after all.
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Old Tuesday 28th July 2020, 09:52   #10
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Looks like a Rufous-naped to me
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Old Tuesday 28th July 2020, 09:59   #11
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So far no votes for Chestnut-backed Sparrow-lark.

Discrimination or what?
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Old Tuesday 28th July 2020, 16:33   #12
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my tea is all over my keyboard! cheers for that lol
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Old Tuesday 28th July 2020, 16:36   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Sweetland View Post
Looks like a Rufous-naped to me
THanks Larry
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Old Wednesday 29th July 2020, 07:19   #14
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This bird shows a pattern close to the rufous wing in my original post. Any thoughts?
Thanks very much.
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Old Thursday 30th July 2020, 06:53   #15
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I finally put under Mirafra rufocinnamomea mababiensis after seeing drawings in the HBW.

Thanks again for your help
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Old Thursday 30th July 2020, 09:55   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Hurley View Post
I finally put under Mirafra rufocinnamomea mababiensis after seeing drawings in the HBW.

Thanks again for your help
I wouldn't go on drawings to identify a lark like this. Up to you of course, but I think we need Tib here really. For me I'd first want to know why it isn't a Rufous-naped Lark before going anywhere else with it.
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Old Thursday 30th July 2020, 10:03   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Hurley View Post
I finally put under Mirafra rufocinnamomea mababiensis after seeing drawings in the HBW.
Hi Andy,

I looked this up in Cornell's Birds of the World (né HBW) and the distribution of mababiensis is Angola and far north Namibia and Botswana, whereas you said your photos were from KZN on the other side of the continent.

And in the drawing of mababiensis in CBW there is rufous in the tail, but not on the tertials, whereas your bird shows the opposite, and in addition the rufous on the primaries on your bird seems to be much smaller in extent than shown in the CBW illustration (attached, which I hope is 'fair use').

CBW says pintoi is the ssp found in NE ZA, and this according to the illustration (attached) seems to be the most rufous of all underneath, whereas what we can see of your bird underneath is whiteish.
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Last edited by MacNara : Thursday 30th July 2020 at 10:10. Reason: Extra info
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Old Thursday 30th July 2020, 10:36   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Sweetland View Post
I wouldn't go on drawings to identify a lark like this. Up to you of course, but I think we need Tib here really. For me I'd first want to know why it isn't a Rufous-naped Lark before going anywhere else with it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacNara View Post
Hi Andy,

I looked this up in Cornell's Birds of the World (né HBW) and the distribution of mababiensis is Angola and far north Namibia and Botswana, whereas you said your photos were from KZN on the other side of the continent.

And in the drawing of mababiensis in CBW there is rufous in the tail, but not on the tertials, whereas your bird shows the opposite, and in addition the rufous on the primaries on your bird seems to be much smaller in extent than shown in the CBW illustration (attached, which I hope is 'fair use').

CBW says pintoi is the ssp found in NE ZA, and this according to the illustration (attached) seems to be the most rufous of all underneath, whereas what we can see of your bird underneath is whiteish.
Thanks very much for both of your replies. I think I will have to leave it for now, until more evidence for a more certain identification appears, or is found by myself. A pity really, considering the photos are not bad in quality, fof me that is.

I suppose it is another lesson about how difficult the Mirafra clade actually is, (if it even called that these days) and a reminder, that regardless of how well we understand our local patches, overseas visits for limited timespans that give us huge numbers of birds on our (insert country here) list, does not make us instant experts. It has been an interesting process for me and I have learned a lot about my own limitations as a European bird watcher on Afrian soil.
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Old Thursday 30th July 2020, 10:39   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Sweetland View Post
For me I'd first want to know why it isn't a Rufous-naped Lark before going anywhere else with it.
Overall, I agree with Larry here. Though the bill looks a bit small to me. Flappet would be last on my list, I'm afraid.
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Old Thursday 30th July 2020, 12:35   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacNara View Post
Overall, I agree with Larry here. Though the bill looks a bit small to me. Flappet would be last on my list, I'm afraid.
Thaks very much
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Old Thursday 30th July 2020, 15:15   #21
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacNara View Post
Overall, I agree with Larry here. Though the bill looks a bit small to me. Flappet would be last on my list, I'm afraid.
The apparently stubby bill is worrying me too Mac, but my experience of these is fading fast!
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Old Thursday 30th July 2020, 17:58   #22
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I have no experience with these. my contribution is a link to a photo of the relevant subspecies of the Rufous-naped Lark https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/20...510.1583343203

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Old Thursday 30th July 2020, 18:53   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njlarsen View Post
I have no experience with these. my contribution is a link to a photo of the relevant subspecies of the Rufous-naped Lark https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/20...510.1583343203

Niels
Pretty good match I think, though the bill does look a little heavier on the OP bird. Could be angle or individual variation though I'd guess.
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Old Friday 31st July 2020, 08:22   #24
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Larry was right, Rufous-naped Lark.

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Old Friday 31st July 2020, 08:41   #25
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Larry was right, Rufous-naped Lark.
Well, actually, Brian, I was the first person to say 'Rufous-naped Lark' (#6) although, I admit, after I had confidently suggested Sabota.

So, I did eventually get the right species, just not necessarily in the right order...
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