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3 Species / Africa (1 Viewer)

Jose605

Well-known member
Hello everyone,

I uploaded these 3 photos on eBird, but they were signaled as 'unconfirmed', meaning I may have wrongly identified the species. Any idea please?

#1 shot in Cape Town. To me it looked like a Cape Weaver.
#2 shot in Namibia. Familiar Chat in my opinion.
#3 shot in Sudan. I'm hesitant between Whinchat or a wheatear perhaps?

Thank you for your help!

Jose
 

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CARERY

Well-known member
Can't really help with the Weaver but it looks OK for Cape Weaver IMO.

Anymore pics of no.2? The very distinct eye-ring isn't good for a Familiar Chat I'd say.

No.3 is a Wheatear. I would say (Eastern) Black-eared.
 

Jose605

Well-known member
Thanks a lot Roland! Good feedback.

I don't have a second photo of No. 2 unfortunately. I wonder what could it be if it isn't a Familiar Chat.

I believe you're right about No. 3.

Cheers!
 

Andy Hurley

All nations have the right to govern themselves
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
For no 2 the tail is vital and will probably decide what your bird is. Just looking at it without the tail, I would say it could be the Pale Namibian race of Karoo Chat, or as you suggested, Familiar chat. I'm leaning more to the Karoo Chat (see photo attatched), from the overall paleness, as my photos of Familiar have at least a bit of darker brown on the head, but very variable.

Whereabouts in Namibia was the photo taken? Can you recall, (if it were me then highly unlikely), the tail pattern or even the predominant colour? (Red = Familiar, black = Karoo). I have photos of both species looking similar to the front end of yours, including eyering, especially in the desert regions.
 

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Muppit17

Well-known member
Can't really help with the Weaver but it looks OK for Cape Weaver IMO.

Anymore pics of no.2? The very distinct eye-ring isn't good for a Familiar Chat I'd say.

No.3 is a Wheatear. I would say (Eastern) Black-eared.
I agree with 1 & 3 and also your doubt with 2.

My immediate reaction was it was far too pale for Familiar Chat, and the underparts and vent especially are too pale.

You ask which others are possible - as you don't say where in Namibia, then Karoo Chat, Tractrac Chat and even Sickle-winged (in the far south) are possible. Unfortunately it is the tail pattern that is important and we cant see anything of this.

My immediate thought was Tractrac - but the pale form of Karoo is very difficult to tell without seeing the tail pattern and both are present in Namibia.
 
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Andy Hurley

All nations have the right to govern themselves
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
I agree with 1 & 2 and also your doubt with 2.

My immediate reaction was it was far too pale for Familiar Chat, and the underparts and vent especially are too pale.

You ask which others are possible - as you don't say where in Namibia, then Karoo Chat, Tractrac Chat and even Sickle-winged (in the far south) are possible. Unfortunately it is the tail pattern that is important and we cant see anything of this.

My immediate thought was Tractrac - but the pale form of Karoo is very difficult to tell without seeing the tail pattern and both are present in Namibia.
In my experience the Tractrac is even paler than this in the Namib
 

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Jose605

Well-known member
Thank you both for your great feedback!

I’m sure I took other photos of the Chat, but this is one of the very few photos that miraculously survived the loss of a computer where I kept many other photographs.

I lived in Windhoek for 6 months (March to September) so most of my birding was done around the central Khomas region. I never traveled to the south of the country, so we can definitely rule out Sickle-winged.

Looking on eBird it seems Tractrac is a bit more abundant than Karoo in Namibia. This could be a clue too. The distribution range seems to be about the same for both species.

Also looking at photos of both species online it seems to me that the wing of the Karoo is a bit darker than the Tractrac’s. The wing of my bird is not so dark I’d say.

The Familiar Chat looks definitely darker than my bird now that I look at other photos online.

So I’m leaning more towards Tractrac here.

Thanks again!

Jose
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
I think photo 2 is Familiar Chat as Jose first suggested himself. The lighting of the original photo has to be taken into account. If you adjust a bit - as I have in the attached - then the Familiar Chat pattern appears.

And Jose - how awful to have spent half a year in such a wonderful place (not Windhoek as such, but Namibia in general) and to have lost your photos. That's the kind of thing we have nightmares about! Familiar Chat Namibia.png
 

Andy Hurley

All nations have the right to govern themselves
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Jose, I also feel for you for loss of data with the computer. How awful. Personally, I started putting all my photos on hard drives, as the capacity was lacking on my PC. Now I have 4 2TB or 4 TB hard drives, 2 as backups. I'm pretty jealous that you had 6 months in Namibia. Was it over the hotter or cooler months?
As for the bird, as MacNara has adjusted the light, the undertail coverts, what is visible has a rufous tone, not grey, I now think it is a Familiar Chat too. The easiest way to confirm chat species is rump and tail colour and pattern. BTW can you recall any wing flicking? I've add a fairly light Familiar Chat photo for comparison. MacNara is welcome to adjust the lighting (y)
 

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Andy Hurley

All nations have the right to govern themselves
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Get that first cup of coffee in before posting, Andy Hurley!
In my defence LOL, I have just come in from 2 hours of shovelling snow off the pavement, it is my turn for 10 days at the start of Feb and we live in a corner flat, so have 2 sides to clear. I am full of high octane pain killers too. No excuse, I know that, but maybe mitigating circumstances?:LOL:
 

Jose605

Well-known member
I think photo 2 is Familiar Chat as Jose first suggested himself. The lighting of the original photo has to be taken into account. If you adjust a bit - as I have in the attached - then the Familiar Chat pattern appears.

And Jose - how awful to have spent half a year in such a wonderful place (not Windhoek as such, but Namibia in general) and to have lost your photos. That's the kind of thing we have nightmares about! View attachment 1368735

Thank you MacNara for your input and for taking your time to adjust the colors of the photo. Good exercise!

It may be indeed a Familiar Chat, as I originally thought, but once the photo was 'Unconfirmed' by someone on eBird, it made me hesitate.

I've made mistakes in the past matching a particular species with the wrong photo on eBird and they’re usually right: I had made a mistake with the ID in the first place. Others were obvious mistakes, as when in a hurry I recently tagged the species as Chaffinch when it was a Chiffchaff. So this ‘Unconfirmed’ tool is actually quite useful to correct mistakes.

My time in Namibia was wonderful. I saw so many great birds and all kinds of animals, specially antelopes. So easy to spot too; they were all over the place.

There's also a fantastic bird club in Windhoek that met every weekend to explore a different area around the Khomas region, and sometimes as far as the coast. These clubs may be popular in the UK or US, but certainly very hard to find anywhere else in Africa. The members helped me ID most of the birds we came across. So I didn’t take that many photos at the time.

I did carry a small Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ61 (which I highly recommend, for it's great zoom particularly) and took a few photos of birds here and there, but photography wasn't a major interest at the time (2017), so the loss of photos wasn't that important. I do wonder now and then if among those photos I took (sometimes on my own) was a species I never properly identified. I learnt my lesson and now I always have a hard disk drive where I keep a copy of all my records.

Jose
 

Jose605

Well-known member
Jose, I also feel for you for loss of data with the computer. How awful. Personally, I started putting all my photos on hard drives, as the capacity was lacking on my PC. Now I have 4 2TB or 4 TB hard drives, 2 as backups. I'm pretty jealous that you had 6 months in Namibia. Was it over the hotter or cooler months?
As for the bird, as MacNara has adjusted the light, the undertail coverts, what is visible has a rufous tone, not grey, I now think it is a Familiar Chat too. The easiest way to confirm chat species is rump and tail colour and pattern. BTW can you recall any wing flicking? I've add a fairly light Familiar Chat photo for comparison. MacNara is welcome to adjust the lighting (y)

It was winter, and surprisingly quite cold sometimes, although with plenty of sun most of the days. I remember shopping for warm clothes in Windhoek, and the electric heater was always on at home.

Thank you for your additional input on the ID.

Jose
 

Andy Hurley

All nations have the right to govern themselves
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
I have been to Southern Africa four times and always in Jan-Feb. I agree with you about how cold it gets. In the highlands of Namibia there was ice on the water put out for the birds. When the sun comes up it warms up rapidly. I remember game drives at dawn where we were supplied with hot waterbottles and blankets as we headed into the Etosha or Chobe or the Kruger. All were quickly forgotten when spotting a cheetah family playing, lions at a kill, or our first birds in the park that day. Happy days.
 

Muppit17

Well-known member
I have been to Southern Africa four times and always in Jan-Feb. I agree with you about how cold it gets. In the highlands of Namibia there was ice on the water put out for the birds. When the sun comes up it warms up rapidly. I remember game drives at dawn where we were supplied with hot waterbottles and blankets as we headed into the Etosha or Chobe or the Kruger. All were quickly forgotten when spotting a cheetah family playing, lions at a kill, or our first birds in the park that day. Happy days.
Having been snowed in the Drakensbergs, I can vouch for how cold it can get across the whole of the High Veld. The sight of Zebras in the snow is something I will never forget! I still sometimes show the pictures to South Africans and most can't believe its their home.
 

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Muppit17

Well-known member
I have been to Southern Africa four times and always in Jan-Feb. I agree with you about how cold it gets. In the highlands of Namibia there was ice on the water put out for the birds. When the sun comes up it warms up rapidly. I remember game drives at dawn where we were supplied with hot waterbottles and blankets as we headed into the Etosha or Chobe or the Kruger. All were quickly forgotten when spotting a cheetah family playing, lions at a kill, or our first birds in the park that day. Happy days.
Having been snowed in the Drakensbergs, I can vouch for how cold it can get across the whole of the High Veld. The sight of Zebras in the snow is something I will never forget! I still sometimes show the pictures to South Africans and most cant believe it their home.
 

Jose605

Well-known member
I have been to Southern Africa four times and always in Jan-Feb. I agree with you about how cold it gets. In the highlands of Namibia there was ice on the water put out for the birds. When the sun comes up it warms up rapidly. I remember game drives at dawn where we were supplied with hot waterbottles and blankets as we headed into the Etosha or Chobe or the Kruger. All were quickly forgotten when spotting a cheetah family playing, lions at a kill, or our first birds in the park that day. Happy days.

Happy days indeed!
 

Jose605

Well-known member
Having been snowed in the Drakensbergs, I can vouch for how cold it can get across the whole of the High Veld. The sight of Zebras in the snow is something I will never forget! I still sometimes show the pictures to South Africans and most cant believe it their home.

Wow! Zebras in the snow. Amazing.
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
We were told that the coastal areas of Namibia especially get only 7mm of rain in a year. So we were surprised on our first visit in April/May 2011 that we had to be towed out of the mire twice in our first half-day (much to the embarrassment of our guide/driver and the amusement of locals with their donkey cart which got through). We saw South African Shelduck in the lake at Sossusvlei, and Dead Vlei was closed due to flooding. All of the (usually underground) rivers were overground, and we had to detour via Walvis Bay to get to Swakopmund because the direct road was flooded. In fact, there was more than 7mm of rain each day of the week we were there.

We haven't been to South Africa yet (except as a stopover); we were saving that for a long trip after full retirement. But we would have been in Botswana and/or Namibia last year if conditions had allowed. I wonder when we'll be able to go again? I wonder how the lovely people who looked after us and showed us their country are surviving without visitors?

1. Not so common White Springbok (our guide asked us for photo copies, as he hadn't seen this either)
2. Locals laughing at us as their donkey cart got through the mire, but we got stuck
3. Lake Sossusvlei
4. Kuiseb River
5. Kuiseb River birding

110502219 Namibia Welwitschia.JPG 110430221 Namibia Sesriem.jpg 110501073 Namibia Sesriem.JPG 110502082 Namibia Kuiseb.JPG 110502086 Namibia Kuiseb.JPG
 

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