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Help with bird ID from Ethiopia needed


Botswanadreams
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Please can the experts take a look what bird is it. Seen in Lalibela. Thanks in advance. 

Edited by Botswanadreams
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@Botswanadreams Looks like a red-billed firefinch to me, (maybe a younger bird and with the picture having a colour tint that makes everything a bit orange rather than red maybe?) but I am not among the experts. It is just an opinion. The red bill is a big clue for me!!!  :)

 

Something for you to consider if you have other angles to look at. Would be really helpful I am sure to know what colour he chest was. 

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Thanks @pault unfortunately I don't have any another angle of this bird.  

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I agree with @pault - the bird's Ethiopian location, the all-red bill, and an all-red crown, serve to eliminate Bar-breasted Firefinch which would be the other Firefinch possibility with an all-red bill.

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@BotswanadreamsI agree with previous answers, the red bill, the prominent eye ring and the location all indicate to me that it has to be a red-billed firefinch.

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Thanks @offshorebirder and @inyathi

 

I have another nice female sunbird were we really struggle with the ID. Maybe someone of the experts can help again. It's from Lalibela too.

 

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Edited by Botswanadreams
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@Botswanadreams Female sunbirds are always tricky but having been through a couple of books and looked at photos online my best guess would be scarlet-chested, but I'm really not certain, the dark throat seems very distinctive not many other species have this, Hunter's does look pretty similar but in the photos the bill looks much heavier. So I think it's scarlet-chested but I'd be interested to see what @offshorebirder or anyone else thinks.

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I agree with @inyathi that a female/immature Scarlet-chested Sunbird is a possibility.  

 

I might lean more towards an immature Amethyst Sunbird - but I am by not means certain. 

 

Thanks for this interesting challenge @Botswanadreams.

 

 

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@offshorebirder after looking at some photos I was going to agree with you and say that's a good suggestion that I hadn't considered, but then I looked at the map, the Amethyst sunbird doesn't occur in Ethiopia at all. If it's an immature bird then I suppose there might be other options that I haven't looked at.

 

@Botswanadreams The thought occurred to me after I looked at the map in my copy of Birds of Africa South of the Sahara which has pages of sunbirds, that the way to narrow it down is to look at an Ethiopian bird list and you can find one on the Avibase website.

 

Avibase - Bird Checklists of the World Ethiopia

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@inyathi - I was going by this web page on birds of Ethiopia which includes Amethyst Sunbird:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_birds_of_Ethiopia#Sunbirds_and_spiderhunters

 

But perhaps it is included because of just a few vagrant individuals in the past...

 

For what it's worth, I saw some other immature sunbirds that were close to @Botswanadreams' photo...

 

 

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@offshorebirder Interesting that Wikipedia list says there are 23 sunbirds in Ethiopia, whereas the list on Avibase only has 19, on the Wikipedia list the olive sunbird is split into two species but my book says that's not supported by genetics, but that still leaves 3 extra species. The book suggests that these 3 species aren't found in Ethiopia so either Wikipedia is wrong or maybe as you say they have turned up as vagrants. Avibase on their lists have plenty of birds labelled rare/accidental which would include vagrants, I often use the site to create my own checklists for my trips and I'm quite often surprised at some of the odd birds that appear on some of the lists.  

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I´m not quite convinced this is a Scarlet-Chested. Facial pattern pretty much as in the book but belly does not look quite right. And shouldn´t the bill be just a tad longer? I have one from Kenya which definitely is a female Scarlet-Chested and it looks quite different, see photo below.

 

But I´m afraid I can´t come up with a better guess. Amethyst only occurs in Southern Somalia according to Birds of the Horn of Africa. I considered Beautiful Sunbird. Immature male has a black throat, pretty short bill and tail, and also has that somewhat chunky look. But Lalibela is 2500 m above sea level and Beautiful Sunbirds are not supposed to occur that high up. Also, the belly on a Beautiful should look paler, a bit yellowish.

 

Considering place (Lalibela) and altitude, only the following Sunbirds could be candidates:

 

Tacazze (very common in Ethiopia, but quite a big Sunbird, and no black throat)

Malachite (immature male may have black throat but looks quite different)

Scarlet-Chested (possible)

Shining Sunbird (immature has a blackish throat but belly should be more whitish)

Olive (no black throat)

Variable (no black throat)

 

So I´d reluctantly go with immature female Scarlet-Chested - and will call @Galana

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Edited by michael-ibk
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Thanks all for taking your time to discuss the sunbird. As you maybe know we are not really birders. I'm not patient enough for this. @inyathi I know "avibase" and use it for looking up the German names. Last year for Kenya I printed the checklist for Kenya and Zarek always wrote the date behind the bird ID when we saw some and took pictures. So it was easy to identify afterwards at home. For our upcoming trip to India the list is already printed but for Ethiopia I forgot to do so. Thanks again for helping. 

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