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Tanzania, Lake Manyara (1 Viewer)

julienl

Well-known member
Hey everyone,

These birds were seen in the Lake Manyara NP on the 17/08/19.

1) African Grey or Pale Flycatcher ?

2) Grassland Pipit ?

3) African Grey or Pale Flycatcher ?

4) Can't really see the mantle with this angle but Red Billed Firefinch ?

Thanks !
 

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julienl

Well-known member
How can you rull out Pale Flyctacher ? On these pictures I can't tell if there are fine streakings on the crown or if it is just feathers shadows.

Jameson's Firefinch is supposed to have a grey bill.
 

Jean FRANCOIS

Well-known member
How can you rull out Pale Flyctacher ? On these pictures I can't tell if there are fine streakings on the crown or if it is just feathers shadows.
Jameson's Firefinch is supposed to have a grey bill.
The silhouette and the pattern of the wings are in favour of a African Grey Flycatcher.
Firefinch : you may be right. But the Red-billed Firefinch normally has the whole red beak.
Jean
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
A. I agree with African Grey for the flycatcher; I think the streaking on the head can be seen clearly in the second photo. And the wing pattern is right for African Grey as Jean says - I have a handwritten note about the wing pattern as a differentiating feature in my 'Birds of East Africa'.

B. I was going to go with Red-billed for the firefinch, but I looked more closely. One key feature of Jameson's is that the mantle is reddish - and although we can't see this clearly, the picture suggests this is quite possible. Also Jameson's has black legs, while Red-billed has reddish legs - and from what we can see of the legs in this photo, it looks like the bird has black legs. And, as Jean says, the bill of red-billed should be red, really red. So, after all, I'd go for Jameson's. Incidentally, the one Jameson's I have seen (from the back only, but with a clear red mantle and rump) was at Tarangire next to Manyara.
 
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julienl

Well-known member
Thanks for your inputs MacNara.

Can you share your note about wing pattern ? My field guide only states " [Pale Flycatchers] are best separated from African Grey Flycatcher by a uniform brown crown without any streaking".

Regarding the firefinch, most picture of Jameson's I found online show a plain grey bill. And for Red Billed Firefinch, my field guide states "Bill is pinkish red on the sides with a grey culmen" so maybe that's what we are looking at. But I have no experience on bill coulour variation on these species.
 

Tib78

Well-known member
Can you share your note about wing pattern ? My field guide only states " [Pale Flycatchers] are best separated from African Grey Flycatcher by a uniform brown crown without any streaking.

While indeed correct, this feature is of little help in the field, except at close but even then you are likely to loose quite some time looking for the crown streaking that may be quite unconscious at times.

Pale flycatcher is a more uniform, browner bird with a longer tail than African grey.
Your birds are greyer and note on the first one the contrasting dark tail, and pale edges to the tertials and greater wing coverts.

The firefinch is indeed a Red-billed, apart from the bill, it shows the typical pale/yellow eye-ring. Note that birds from Northern Tanzania are easily confused for Jameson’s because of the darkish undertail coverts yet the vent isn’t black as in Jameson’s.
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
Can you share your note about wing pattern?

At some point, I added a note that the wing at rest was 'blackish with pale margins' as a feature to differentiate Grey from Pale. It seems to me that this can be seen in both photos (1 and 3). I don't remember if this was from personal observation, or because someone here on BF pointed this out to me.

The firefinch is indeed a Red-billed, apart from the bill, it shows the typical pale/yellow eye-ring. Note that birds from Northern Tanzania are easily confused for Jameson’s because of the darkish undertail coverts yet the vent isn’t black as in Jameson’s.

The books show a pale yellow eye-ring for all the firefinches as far as I can see. But thanks for the point about the vent in northern Tanzania. The dark vent was, for me, another feature in favour of Jameson's in the OP's photo. I've added a pencilled note in my 'Birds of East Africa'. And the legs still look dark to me.
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
If you have time, Tib, I'd be grateful for your opinion on the following two pairs of birds, both from the Baringo area in May this year. Our seemingly knowledgeable guide identified them as 'African Firefinch' but I wasn't sure he was right.

Photos 1 and 2 male and female which were together.

Photos 3 and 4 different male and female, different day, but the same general area.
 

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