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IDs from Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 07:48   #1
tzmonster
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IDs from Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

All seen March 2018 on the floor of Ngorongoro Crater:

(1) A pipit or lark of some kind?

(2) Maybe a squacco heron - common or Madagascar? Or little bittern?

(3) A weaver, but I'm thrown off by the brown eye. Vitelline should have red eye, and lesser masked should have a yellow eye.

(4 & 5) A cisticola - any ideas which kind? It was silent, so no auditory clues to go on.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 08:12   #2
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1. Plain-backed Pipit
2. Squacco Heron
4&5. Rufous-winged Cisticola
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 08:27   #3
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Thanks! Any guesses on whether the squacco heron is a common one or a Madagascar squacco? It seems they both reside in the crater, and I'm not sure how best to tell them apart.

Also, any takers on the weaver ID?
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 08:33   #4
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A little more research confirms that the squacco must be a common squacco as Madagascar squaccos (or pond herons) typically only visit from May - October: http://tanzaniabirds.net/African_bir...ond_TBAmap.jpg
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 09:59   #5
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Speke's Weaver
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 10:45   #6
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Thanks, Larry. Seems obvious now - Birds of EA says that Speke's have a yellow eye, which threw me off, but that's clearly the best fit.
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 10:58   #7
Valéry Schollaert
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I wouldn't be that confident on such a moulting pipit, they are really difficult even in "regular" plumage, but here...

There is no Rufous-winged Cisticola in Nothern Tanzania, I guess you mean Winding.

https://www.hbw.com/species/rufous-w...ola-galactotes

TZ Monster, did you check Speke's Weaver with pink eye, yellow forehead and strong bill?
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Last edited by Valéry Schollaert : Thursday 8th March 2018 at 10:59. Reason: NB: cross posting with Larry
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 11:26   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valéry Schollaert View Post
I wouldn't be that confident on such a moulting pipit, they are really difficult even in "regular" plumage, but here...

There is no Rufous-winged Cisticola in Nothern Tanzania, I guess you mean Winding.

https://www.hbw.com/species/rufous-w...ola-galactotes

TZ Monster, did you check Speke's Weaver with pink eye, yellow forehead and strong bill?
Valery, Yes, Winding Cisticola should be more appropriate name in that area. I was in hurry so just came up with whatever its name is at the moment. Regarding the cisticola, seems like there is also a taxon problem here. According to wikipedia page, The Clements list (2017) and the Howard and Moore list (2014) lump the rufous-winged cisticola, Luapula cisticola, coastal cisticola and Ethiopian cisticola with the above subspecies as the Winding cisticola.

Last edited by Werzik : Thursday 8th March 2018 at 11:41.
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 12:05   #9
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Originally Posted by Werzik View Post
Valery, Yes, Winding Cisticola should be more appropriate name in that area. I was in hurry so just came up with whatever its name is at the moment. Regarding the cisticola, seems like there is also a taxon problem here. According to wikipedia page, The Clements list (2017) and the Howard and Moore list (2014) lump the rufous-winged cisticola, Luapula cisticola, coastal cisticola and Ethiopian cisticola with the above subspecies as the Winding cisticola.
They lumped or they didn't split yet?

HBW / Birdlife and IOC split, that's enough for me. I'm sure Coastal and Winding are different species (I've seen them in contact zone and no interaction, far inland in NE Tanzania, South of Lushoto in the lowland). Ethiopian has a distinctive voice and fairly distinct plumage. I've less confidence for Rufous-winged and Luapala (compared to winding), but no reason that authorities have made a wrong choice here.

Generally speaking, I find Howard and Moore the most inaccurate international list I know for a field birder like me. There are signs that "Clements" (James Clements was doing great listing but sadly passed away some years ago) list will be merged with IOC (I bet to have a chance to remain a major reference against the merge of Birdlife and HBW lists). I believe IOC will not lump back to match "Clements", but the opposite.
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Old Thursday 8th March 2018, 12:10   #10
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Thank you for the vast quantities of information Valery. Much appreciated!
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Old Friday 9th March 2018, 05:35   #11
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Thanks, Valery. Great details!

I've reconfirmed Speke's Weaver after looking at a number of other photos of Speke's taken from Ngorongoro area. I think Stevenson & Fanshawe's Birds of EA have the eye color slightly off (listed as "pale yellowish", while most of the Crater weavers seem to be pink/light orange).
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Old Friday 9th March 2018, 06:45   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tzmonster View Post
Thanks, Valery. Great details!

I've reconfirmed Speke's Weaver after looking at a number of other photos of Speke's taken from Ngorongoro area. I think Stevenson & Fanshawe's Birds of EA have the eye color slightly off (listed as "pale yellowish", while most of the Crater weavers seem to be pink/light orange).
Both you and Werzik are welcome. Generally speaking, using slight difference in colour can mislead your identification. Important is pale (white/yellow/pink), red (can be orange, pink-red, brown-red) or dark (black, dark brown, dark grey) eyes in weavers. Between light effect, personal interpretation, optical/camera effect, individual variations, better to be careful than going further in detail!

More reliable features (in general) are: pattern (contrasts, such "a pale wing bar", whatever white, whitish, pale yellow, cream, etc); shape and proportion (tail as short as 1/4 of the body, as long as the body, etc); and, yes, striking colours (grey vs pink legs, pale vs dark eyes, black vs rufous head, etc).
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