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Weaver and Sunbird, Kenya (1 Viewer)

Wiganlad

Well-known member
More of my old 1985 rephotographed slides for a challenge! Kenya but not sure where, although possibly a hotel in Mombasa. All help gratefully received as always.
 

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MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
I think the weaver is juvenile (pinkish bill) Village Weaver, or maybe female.

The closest I can come to the sunbird is Eastern Violet-backed, female or juvenile. The face pattern with the supercilium fits, and the (not completely visibe) not-very-curved bill. Also, there aren't many subirds possible at or near Mombasa, but this is one. (Birds of East Africa has it present slightly inland from the coast, but not actually at the coast).

I've only seen Eastern Violet-backed male, but I have seen the female of the very similar Western Violet-backed Sunbird. I attach two photos of my Western-backed for you to judge. The purplish colouring on the shoulder may be the darker band on the shoulder that you can see in my side-on photo. The underparts of the female are white, but I think the yellow in your photo may indicate a juvenile (as the book says), or may be partly an artefact due to a yellow cast to the whole photo. My straight on photo also shows a yellow cast, although both photos are the same bird. I also attach therefore a version of your photo with the yellow cast removed.

Hope this helps.

190430002A Kenya 2019.jpg 190430007A Kenya 2019.jpg Sunbird Mombasa 01.jpg
 

Wiganlad

Well-known member
Wow! Thank you very much indeed for all your effort with this bird MacNara. I am extremely grateful and will do some follow up of my own at the weekend.
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
Wow! Thank you very much indeed for all your effort with this bird MacNara. I am extremely grateful and will do some follow up of my own at the weekend.
You're welcome. It looks good to me. If you swivel my side-on view 90º up, then to my eye it looks just like yours. Incidentally, another possible point in favour is that the 2nd edition of Birds of East Africa warns of mis-identifying Eastern Violet-backed because sometimes it shows an orange throat after feeding on aloes but people think the orange is a natural colour of the bird. I'm no botanist but the orange flowers in your picture look a lot like an aloe species to me.
 

Wiganlad

Well-known member
I've been doing a bit of searching and now wonder if the sunbird might be female Variable which seems to like leonotis flowers (which that may be!); I suspect the bill is partially hidden in the flower and therefore longer than the Violet-backed suggested by MacNara. The weaver might be a young Speke's with the black under the eye starting to show here. Anyone else's thoughts gratefully received
 

MacNara

Well-known member
Japan
I've been doing a bit of searching and now wonder if the sunbird might be female Variable which seems to like leonotis flowers (which that may be!); I suspect the bill is partially hidden in the flower and therefore longer than the Violet-backed suggested by MacNara. The weaver might be a young Speke's with the black under the eye starting to show here.
Hi Wiganlad: As well as your photos, I took into account your location of Mombasa - even though you said you weren't sure.

Speke's Weaver is nowhere near Mombasa. And for me, based on the photo, if it's not Village, then I would go for Vitelline Masked, which is also not in Mombasa, but a lot closer than Speke's. I take the eye to be reddish rather than yellowish, but from that angle, I agree it's not easy to be sure - and the bill shape and size are also difficult to judge from that angle.

As for the sunbird, if it's Variable female, then your photo must be very washed out (which it may be). Your bird seems to have a fairly strong supercilium, and has a pale throat, whereas Variable female - in my limited experience - has a darker throat and a malar stripe, with mild streaking on the chest, and only the hint of a supercilium, and is much yellower than your bird seems to be. See the attached photos. Also, although it's range is wide, according to Birds of East Africa, 2nd edition (out this year and using the latest data on distribution) it doesn't get close to Mombasa. I agree that the bill of your bird may be more curved than Violet-backed, but unless you have another photo of this bird, I don't see how we can know.

Anyone else's thoughts gratefully received

I was also hoping that someone else would join in. Recently on the forum, people who are real experts on African birds have become rather quiet, so I sometimes try to help out by giving an opinion with reasons that others can agree with or pick apart. I don't at all post thinking that people will take my opinion as gospel.

Anyway, I've exhausted such powers as I have, and I hope someone else more knowledgeable than me will contribute.

130505222A Nairobi NP.jpg 130505223A Nairobi NP.jpg
 

Wiganlad

Well-known member
Hi Wiganlad: As well as your photos, I took into account your location of Mombasa - even though you said you weren't sure.

Speke's Weaver is nowhere near Mombasa. And for me, based on the photo, if it's not Village, then I would go for Vitelline Masked, which is also not in Mombasa, but a lot closer than Speke's. I take the eye to be reddish rather than yellowish, but from that angle, I agree it's not easy to be sure - and the bill shape and size are also difficult to judge from that angle.

As for the sunbird, if it's Variable female, then your photo must be very washed out (which it may be). Your bird seems to have a fairly strong supercilium, and has a pale throat, whereas Variable female - in my limited experience - has a darker throat and a malar stripe, with mild streaking on the chest, and only the hint of a supercilium, and is much yellower than your bird seems to be. See the attached photos. Also, although it's range is wide, according to Birds of East Africa, 2nd edition (out this year and using the latest data on distribution) it doesn't get close to Mombasa. I agree that the bill of your bird may be more curved than Violet-backed, but unless you have another photo of this bird, I don't see how we can know.



I was also hoping that someone else would join in. Recently on the forum, people who are real experts on African birds have become rather quiet, so I sometimes try to help out by giving an opinion with reasons that others can agree with or pick apart. I don't at all post thinking that people will take my opinion as gospel.

Anyway, I've exhausted such powers as I have, and I hope someone else more knowledgeable than me will contribute.

View attachment 1371303 View attachment 1371304
Thanks again for your excellent input and I really value your thoughts as they make me consider options I had never even thought about. It is hard from these poor shots. We can only hope that one of the experts you mentioned looks in at just the right time. Thank for all your efforts
 

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