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Ethiopia: Unknown species (1 Viewer)

Holger

Well-known member
Germany
Which species is this? A Whydah? Is from Ethiopia, Lake Koka, January 2019.
 

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Female type Euplectes are difficult at the best of times but this one looks spot on for Fan-tailed widowbird. It doesn’t have the proportions of a smaller Euplectes/a bishop to me, the rather rich buffy plumage and supercilium don’t fit NRB very well. Habitat looks typical for Fan-tailed WB too.
 
Female type Euplectes are difficult at the best of times but this one looks spot on for Fan-tailed widowbird. It doesn’t have the proportions of a smaller Euplectes/a bishop to me, the rather rich buffy plumage and supercilium don’t fit NRB very well. Habitat looks typical for Fan-tailed WB too.
female Euplectes are difficult to distinguish
I had searched some birds of both
and I found its facial pattern not like fan tailed
female fan tailed has a paler lore,curved supercilaris and clearer pale crescent under the eye
like this one
http://birdingmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Fan-tailed-Widowbird♀-578x398.jpg
that bird has a dark lore and straight supercilaris
this is a female northern red bishop seems more likely
http://www.tsuru-bird.net/a_species...rn_red_female_summer_california_E86G2650a.jpg
 
Well I am all in for doing some research online and look for comparison material. I’d suggest however that a good amount of field experience is essential (but perhaps you have extensive field experience of both sp, I don’t know). One of the first step when IDing Euplectes is to know what’s the size of the Euplectes one’s dealing with. It’s obviously much easier to do so in the field with other birds species around, often in the same flock as Bishops and widowbird regularly occur in mixed flock. But, again, the proportions of this bird don’t fit a Northern red bishop: the head is too small compared to the body.
Regarding the points you raised on face pattern:
- I would put little weight on the somewhat dark lores with a bird seen head-on...since it’s well known that even birds with wholly pale lores may (and actually often will) look dark lored in this position (think Richard’s pipit...). Beside it wouldn’t take a lot of struggle to find a Fan-tailed widowbird with a similar loral pattern...
- the sub-ocular crescent is individually very variable, with non-breeding adult male usually showing the most contrasty face pattern. Yet, check out the bird in the 2nd row left starting from the top here: http://www.tanzaniabirds.net/African_birds/widowbird_fan-tailed/ftwb.htm , the crescent is unobtrusive to say the least.

I would suggest to take a step back and look at the bigger picture instead of the minutiae in this instance: we have a small headed Euplectes with a buffy (not yellowish) ground colour to the plumage.
Note the strong yellow tinge to the supercilium of the female type NRB you linked to, the colour is even more pronounced to the fore part of the supercilium, which is very typical of this species (but also found in others similar sized Bishops). This yellow tinge is totally lacking on the subject bird, including the supercilium.
 
Well I am all in for doing some research online and look for comparison material. I’d suggest however that a good amount of field experience is essential (but perhaps you have extensive field experience of both sp, I don’t know). One of the first step when IDing Euplectes is to know what’s the size of the Euplectes one’s dealing with. It’s obviously much easier to do so in the field with other birds species around, often in the same flock as Bishops and widowbird regularly occur in mixed flock. But, again, the proportions of this bird don’t fit a Northern red bishop: the head is too small compared to the body.
Regarding the points you raised on face pattern:
- I would put little weight on the somewhat dark lores with a bird seen head-on...since it’s well known that even birds with wholly pale lores may (and actually often will) look dark lored in this position (think Richard’s pipit...). Beside it wouldn’t take a lot of struggle to find a Fan-tailed widowbird with a similar loral pattern...
- the sub-ocular crescent is individually very variable, with non-breeding adult male usually showing the most contrasty face pattern. Yet, check out the bird in the 2nd row left starting from the top here: http://www.tanzaniabirds.net/African_birds/widowbird_fan-tailed/ftwb.htm , the crescent is unobtrusive to say the least.

I would suggest to take a step back and look at the bigger picture instead of the minutiae in this instance: we have a small headed Euplectes with a buffy (not yellowish) ground colour to the plumage.
Note the strong yellow tinge to the supercilium of the female type NRB you linked to, the colour is even more pronounced to the fore part of the supercilium, which is very typical of this species (but also found in others similar sized Bishops). This yellow tinge is totally lacking on the subject bird, including the supercilium.
the bird in your link is a moulting male,female individuals are not so variable
like this photo,all females have same facial pattern
http://netfugl.dk/pictures/birds_user_uploads/55857_UU_49334_FT-idobirds-2.jpg
yellow supercilaris likes a good character,most northern red bishop have it
but I had seen a photo has the same facial pattern and not obvious yellow supercilaris like Holger's bird
http://netfugl.dk/pictures/birds_user_uploads/51018_UU_43267_N-Red-Bishop-hun.jpg
it's also taked in Ethiopia,together with male northern red bishop
http://netfugl.dk/pictures/birds_user_uploads/51019_UU_43268_N-Red-Bishop-han.jpg
what do you think about it
 
the bird in your link is a moulting male,female individuals are not so variable
like this photo,all females have same facial pattern
http://netfugl.dk/pictures/birds_user_uploads/55857_UU_49334_FT-idobirds-2.jpg
yellow supercilaris likes a good character,most northern red bishop have it
but I had seen a photo has the same facial pattern and not obvious yellow supercilaris like Holger's bird
http://netfugl.dk/pictures/birds_user_uploads/51018_UU_43267_N-Red-Bishop-hun.jpg
it's also taked in Ethiopia,together with male northern red bishop
http://netfugl.dk/pictures/birds_user_uploads/51019_UU_43268_N-Red-Bishop-han.jpg
what do you think about it

Hello Arcadillor,

Sorry to get back to you after so long but I am too busy currently.
Thanks for your images research (wish I had the time to do the same) but I still don’t see a Bishop in this bird. I don’t have any further argument to propose but it simply looks too buffy and small headed to me.
The supercilium on the female type you posted may be somewhat less yellow than your average NRB but still the whole bird looks very different compared to the subject bird to my eyes: yellowish plumage and the big head is quite obvious to me on this image. Beside the bird is very worn while Holger’s bird is fresh so it’s not easy to make a relevant comparison.
By the way the bird I posted might be an immature male (not an adult male that would show a blueish bill even in non-breeding plumage) but also a female as some female Euplectes may show some «*patch of colour*» reminiscent of their male counterparts.
So I am afraid we’ll have to remain on a disagreement here. Not very satisfying but hey...
 
For a new voice in the conversation: I see female and non-breeding NRB pretty much every day in Ethiopia (does that count as extensive field experience), and I have to agree with Tib78 that this bird is not a NRB. Size/bulk for me is better for a widowbird or a larger bishop.
 
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