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Bee-eater East-Africa (1 Viewer)

The thick black tip to the tail along with the grayish proximal half to the undertail with just a hint of rufous to the inner edge of the inner web (quite an extreme pattern in fact) should be enough to clinch the id.

Edit: ok sorry I hadn’t seen there were 2 pages. I guess it’s much clearer with the second pic now!

very useful thread, thanks to all. Just to clarify 'just a hint of rufous' refers to under tail, but what about the secondaries: how reliable is the rufous panel on the wing (visible in the birdguides in Little and Blue-breasted but nowhere mentioned in the text)?
Thanks
 
Thanks for all the comments and discussion, learned a lot.

Cinnamon panel on the wing is also visible on the book, but not emphasized as an important ID feature, so I missed it.

Sorry for not posting the side image in a first place, but nobody really asked for it as well.

Andres: None of us on this thread has yet said 'Welcome to Bird Forum', so let me do this. Please come again and be a regular member, whether it's about African birds or about your home region.

Although some of the posts of a couple of people who replied (definitely including me) may have seemed a bit 'snippy' (a useful American word for 'a little angry or snide'), we are basically all friends, I hope. Anyway, over ten years, I have learned a huge amount about African birds from all the others who posted here.

Cinnamon panel on the wing is also visible on the book, but not emphasized as an important ID feature, so I missed it.

Me too; I had no idea; now I know.

Everybody is trying to help as best they can, and sometimes people can't understand why others don't see things the way they do. Or why others don't have access to the information they do. It's a human thing.
 
As I said at the beginning of my first post, I started following this thread for self-education.

I think Tib's point is that 'real' Blue-breasted (i.e. Lake Victoria west to the coast) has a cinnamon panel on the wing (clearly not observable in the second photo posted by the OP (it would have been helpful to have posted this rear-view photo in the first post)). Cinnamon-breasted and Ethiopian 'Blue-breasted' Bee-eater don't have this.

Whether the Ethiopian and Cinnamon-chested are one species with two ssp or two species is left in the air.

I don't understand what you are trying to do. Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater is a common bird around Nairobi, so why would you consider a first national from Ethiopia ?
 
I don't understand what you are trying to do. Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater is a common bird around Nairobi, so why would you consider a first national from Ethiopia ?

Well, since you like HBW, here's the HBW for 'Ethiopian Bee-eater'

Merops lafresnayii

Ethiopia.

Has been placed with other small, rounded-winged species lacking tail-streamers in genus Melittophagus, also including M. bullockoides, M. bulocki, M. oreobates, M. variegatus, M. pusillus, M. gularis and M. muelleri (and forms previously included within these species). Sometimes lumped with M. variegatus or M. oreobates, and recently shown to be much closer to and hybridizing with latter, but differs from both: from variegatus in its rich blue forehead and supercilium (3), slightly darker belly (1), much broader dark tailband (usually twice width) (at least 1), much larger size (effect size for wing 4.43, for tail 4.74; score 2); and from oreobates in its rich blue forehead and supercilium (3), rich blue, not black, upper breastband (3), buffy-yellow basal secondaries and basal outer tail (2), barely discernible greyish vs distinct white narrow tips of secondaries (ns), with unknown-width zone of apparent intergradation or hybridization in N & W Kenya (score 1). Monotypic.
 
Well, since you like HBW, here's the HBW for 'Ethiopian Bee-eater'

Merops lafresnayii

Ethiopia.

Has been placed with other small, rounded-winged species lacking tail-streamers in genus Melittophagus, also including M. bullockoides, M. bulocki, M. oreobates, M. variegatus, M. pusillus, M. gularis and M. muelleri (and forms previously included within these species). Sometimes lumped with M. variegatus or M. oreobates, and recently shown to be much closer to and hybridizing with latter, but differs from both: from variegatus in its rich blue forehead and supercilium (3), slightly darker belly (1), much broader dark tailband (usually twice width) (at least 1), much larger size (effect size for wing 4.43, for tail 4.74; score 2); and from oreobates in its rich blue forehead and supercilium (3), rich blue, not black, upper breastband (3), buffy-yellow basal secondaries and basal outer tail (2), barely discernible greyish vs distinct white narrow tips of secondaries (ns), with unknown-width zone of apparent intergradation or hybridization in N & W Kenya (score 1). Monotypic.

Yes I know that, and agree since 25 years that it is closer to oreobates than variegatus.

I still don't understand your point. OP bird is oreobates, the case is settled, isn't it ?
 
very useful thread, thanks to all. Just to clarify 'just a hint of rufous' refers to under tail, but what about the secondaries: how reliable is the rufous panel on the wing (visible in the birdguides in Little and Blue-breasted but nowhere mentioned in the text)?
Thanks

It’s totally diagnostic AFAIK.
Little is indeed the species that shows the most orange secondaries (and tail when spread and seen from above) while Cinnamon-breasted is at the other end of the spectrum with almost totally green secondaries and tail (from above).
Blue-breasted and Ethiopian are closer to Little but with a little more green though.
Just beware that from certain angles and in fresh plumage some Little (and probably Blue-breasted and Ethiopian too) may appear to have an almost complete green wings becuse the outer webs of the secondaries may show much green.
 
It’s totally diagnostic AFAIK.
Little is indeed the species that shows the most orange secondaries (and tail when spread and seen from above) while Cinnamon-breasted is at the other end of the spectrum with almost totally green secondaries and tail (from above).
Blue-breasted and Ethiopian are closer to Little but with a little more green though.
Just beware that from certain angles and in fresh plumage some Little (and probably Blue-breasted and Ethiopian too) may appear to have an almost complete green wings becuse the outer webs of the secondaries may show much green.

:t:
 
Andres: None of us on this thread has yet said 'Welcome to Bird Forum', so let me do this. Please come again and be a regular member, whether it's about African birds or about your home region.
.

Thanks, the first thread turned out quite useful and considering I'm just at the beginning of identifying birds on the photos from my trip, I'll definitely come back.
 
I agree with MacNara's treatise. Blue-Breasted/Chested for me.

The location here is not a problem for me. I have done a lot of birding in Western/South-Western Ethiopia. I primarily use the Princeton field guide. I have found at least a dozen species in the Gambella region which are outside their distribution according to the maps included in the guide (most seen regularly, too, not one-offs, e.g. Chestnut Sparrow). I also use eBird to track my checklists, and I have had certain species marked as rare (e.g. Black-Rumped Waxbill), even though I see them quite frequently (at least 6 months out of the year, various locations).

All this to say: while the guides are very well done and professional, they are not divine revelation. They can err; data may have been incomplete when they were written; perhaps changes in food distribution or weather patterns are causing population shifts which are yet unaccounted for. Thus in my opinion, location should never be the final factor in species ID (within reason... obviously the farther from its expected location a bird is found, the more weight location should be given).
 
Thanks for that. Even with this reference, I can't find any other link to or info about this update whatever search terms I use, including on the publisher's site. And there is no info about or pre-order of any kind on the three Amazon sites I have in my bookmarks. I really hope it is actually coming.

Hi MacNara

Well, we are quite advanced with plans - all images painted (see attached example), though still with me at home - just waiting for final author comments.

End of this year may be hopeful...

B
 

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I agree with MacNara's treatise. Blue-Breasted/Chested for me.

Hi J,

I thought this thread had finished. In my own head, I am not completely convinced I was wrong. However, Tib78 and Valéry are both much much more experienced than me and seem to agree on Cinnamon-breasted.

There are two features which Tib uses to support his ID.

One is the lack of a rufous panel in the wing, which both Little and Blue-chested should have - under normal circumstances (see Andres second photo from the side in one of his later posts which lacks this feature).

A second feature is the undertail colouration. I am re-attaching my composite of the OP's bird and my Ethiopian 'Blue-chested'. Tib seems to be saying that the OP's bird has a white tip to the tail from underneath with a black band above that, then a grey-ish continuation. But my bird has a white tip with a black band and a white-ish continuation.

We all know that certain features can vary - fresh feathers versus older, different light and so on - and to me the grey-ish versus white-ish feature didn't seem significant, since as far as I could see all the other features pointed to Blue-chested. And even now, I can't for myself clearly see why the grey undertail shouldn't be a light/shadow effect rather than something real

But a much more experienced birder than me, such as Tib, will know that certain features - presumably including the grey upper undertail which Tib describes as an 'extreme' pattern, and therefore Cinnamon-breasted - are much more indicative than other features which may seem more important to less experienced people like myself.

So, although I still can't see it with my own eye, I am willing to accept the 'opinion from much wider experience' of Tib and (eventually) Valéry that it's Cinnamon-breasted.
 

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Hi MacNara

Well, we are quite advanced with plans - all images painted (see attached example), though still with me at home - just waiting for final author comments.

End of this year may be hopeful...

B

Well we're off for a week (longest holiday my wife can get) in eastern Kenya at the end of the month. We were hoping to be able to use this new edition, but it seems not. How slack of you all! Now I guess we'll have to go to all the trouble of visiting East Africa again next year in order to check out the new book! If you all had done your work more quickly, then next year we could just have spent our holiday at home watching Attenborough.

Unless it's a professional / trade secret, I wonder if you could tell us if all the pictures have been re-painted, or if it's just a selection?

Anyway, I'm sure that I'm one of many here looking forward to the appearance of this book. Hopefully we will be able to avoid being dissed because we are twenty years behind with splits that have not yet made it into print.
 
Well we're off for a week (longest holiday my wife can get) in eastern Kenya at the end of the month. We were hoping to be able to use this new edition, but it seems not. How slack of you all! Now I guess we'll have to go to all the trouble of visiting East Africa again next year in order to check out the new book! If you all had done your work more quickly, then next year we could just have spent our holiday at home watching Attenborough.

Brian - this was meant as a joke, but on reflection, since jokes don't always appear as such on the internet including BF, I thought I should perhaps make that clear.

Looking forward to the new edition whenever it appears.
 
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