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Warblers (?) from Sal, Cape Verde (1 Viewer)

MaxesTaxes

Active member
Netherlands
Hi everyone,
I saw this bird on the island of Sal in Cape Verde and am having a hard time IDing it.
Using this Wikipedia list, I've narrowed it down to these potential species:
  • Luscinia megarhynchos (common nightingale)
  • Curruca deserti (African desert warbler)
  • Iduna calligata (booted warbler)
  • Ammomanes cincturus (bar-tailed lark)
I personally find that in terms of looks, the first two are most similar. But they are both labeled as Accidental on the Wiki list, which makes me a lot more hesitant to go with those as identification. The other two I find are less good fits morphologically, but are not labeled as Accidental occurrences. Also, looking at photos online, it seems as though the nightingale and booted warbler are both mainly seen in tree branches, whereas my bird was in a very arid area with only a few small trees/bushes. The last photo gives a wider overview of what the environment I photographed these birds is like. Also, it's probably worth noting that the bird was in a small flock of 8-10 individuals. They were hopping around on the ground, most likely foraging for seeds/insects.
Hopefully someone more familiar with African passerines can help me out here! Please also tell me which features have allowed you to come to your ID, so I can understand which features are important in the identification here.
Thanks in advance,
Max
 

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KenM

Well-known member
@KenM @lou salomon
thanks both! Can I please ask what features made you come to this identification?
Stout bill of a seed-eater, (not thin, like an invertebrate eater e.g a warbler), dark bar to tail end and dark tips to primaries, contrasting paler mantle to the more rufous wash of the tertials and primaries and tail.

If you Google Bar-tailed Desert Lark images, you will be able to compare with yours.

Cheers đź‘Ť
 

MaxesTaxes

Active member
Netherlands
@KenM
Ah alright those make sense, thanks a lot! And yes I did Google images of the different species, but sometimes for the inexperienced birder like myself, it's hard to determine which features are actually relevant/important.
 

KenM

Well-known member
In learning bird ID, you will find a field guide to be a million times more useful than the internet.
Yes, but if you don’t have a field guide to hand, it’s a “bloody good” alternative!
 

MaxesTaxes

Active member
Netherlands
In learning bird ID, you will find a field guide to be a million times more useful than the internet.
Yep, I've got the RSPB Pocket Guide to British Birds, and I definitely agree that it is incredibly useful and informative (the book is in a pretty poor state right now due to how often I've taken it into the field!), as well as a couple other books centered on northwest-European birds. Unfortunately they are not of much help in Cape Verde... I did see that there was a book for the birds of Cape Verde that seems good, but it is a bit too expensive for me to buy considering I only spent a week there. So in a situation like this, I'll rely on the internet, and then the lovely people here on BirdForum if I can't figure it out on my own.
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
Yep, I've got the RSPB Pocket Guide to British Birds, and I definitely agree that it is incredibly useful and informative (the book is in a pretty poor state right now due to how often I've taken it into the field!), as well as a couple other books centered on northwest-European birds. Unfortunately they are not of much help in Cape Verde... I did see that there was a book for the birds of Cape Verde that seems good, but it is a bit too expensive for me to buy considering I only spent a week there. So in a situation like this, I'll rely on the internet, and then the lovely people here on BirdForum if I can't figure it out on my own.
Meanwhile, you might consider installing the Merlin app from Cornell university. If you then install the dataset for the particular area you're visiting, you'll have a basic description of each bird, some representative songs/calls, [usually] a distribution map and the "headline" photos which you can also see on ebird pages.

Merlin's main function is to use artificial intelligence to try to identify birds. This is probably only partially successful at best. But with the area pack and by choosing to "explore birds" [main menu] you'll have the equivalent of a basic photographic field guide. A "proper" field guide with painted plates will be better, but Merlin's a useful adjunct and it's a convenient way to get a collection of sounds.
 

MaxesTaxes

Active member
Netherlands
@THE_FERN I actually have that app already, but completely forgot I did... you're absolutely right that that would have been very useful for me to use! I'll make sure to remember that better for next time.
 

Stephen Dunstan

Registered User
Yep, I've got the RSPB Pocket Guide to British Birds, and I definitely agree that it is incredibly useful and informative (the book is in a pretty poor state right now due to how often I've taken it into the field!), as well as a couple other books centered on northwest-European birds. Unfortunately they are not of much help in Cape Verde... I did see that there was a book for the birds of Cape Verde that seems good, but it is a bit too expensive for me to buy considering I only spent a week there. So in a situation like this, I'll rely on the internet, and then the lovely people here on BirdForum if I can't figure it out on my own.
There is a Facebook group run by Uwe Thom on the Birds Of Sal which contains a wealth of photographs and gives an up to date idea of what's about.
 

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