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GAME: name that bird!


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inyathi

I know, and I'm still working on picking the next photos :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

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janzin

@inyathi Smart alec  :D there you go assuming you are correct before I even post. You could be wrong...!!

 

But alas, you are not. :P

 

Indeed its a Shining Flycatcher, taken in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.  I actually have the same bird (different shot) in my trip report and on my website so really a bit of research into my trips would have given it away. In fact my next clue was going to be to check my trip reports.

 

I guess next time I should pick a lark or pipit :lol:

 

 

 

 

 

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inyathi

@janzin Sorry it was perhaps a bit presumptuous of me, It was just fortunate having gone for Australia, that there aren't a lot of other similar looking birds, I did have to check my bird lists to see I'd seen shining flycatcher but no I hadn't, but I have seen the related satin flycatcher, but its belly is white. In truth I know having been through my bird photos picking the next shot, that there are actually lot more birds than just larks and pipits and other LBJs that would fox me as to the likely location, fortunately not too many have come up thus far, I’m sure they will now. I think it’s just that if you flick through the bird books often enough, even if you don’t know half the birds, you start to get a bit of a feel for how they look, but I have to add even if I correctly surmise that a bird is from South America, that doesn’t mean I have a clue as to the exact species, I find many South American birds seriously difficult, just because there so darn many of them, it's one thing thinking it's probably some sort of ant wren, it's quite another knowing which one it is. I’ve been to Africa more often than other parts of the world, so I must have flicked through Birds of Africa South of the Sahara which I first bought in 04 and other African books more than any others, which is why I’m usually confident I’m right, if I think a bird is not African.   

 

Although I do have a book, I’m not that great on North American birds, but that’s not much help to you, when @offshorebirder is playing the game  

 

Picking a bird is now a serious challenge, because besides trying to pick a suitably hard one, when looking at birds from all but my most recent trips, I’m not always certain if I’ve posted them before or not, I suppose as the game started 12 years ago it might not matter, if posted one I'd posted before years ago:rolleyes:

 

Have a go at this one.

 

13720172715_67ef1f73e3_o.jpg 

Edited by inyathi
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Soukous

it's a woodpecker, possibly a Stripe-cheeked Woodpecker

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inyathi

@Soukous Good answer, close but no.

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Soukous

Pileated Woodpecker maybe, although I am struggling to work out whether the bird is black or dark green

 

Scratch that, given your travels I think it is more likely to be a Lineated Woodpecker

 

Edited by Soukous
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inyathi

@Soukous Good thinking, I though for a moment that maybe I'd seen pileated on my travels, but when I checked my list I saw that I hadn't and that I was probably confusing it with lineated, which I think I must have seen a few times, but I've not got worthwhile photos of one yet, so no it's not lineated, if need be I'll post another photo.

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janzin

Well there's only 239 to choose from :) Easy to eliminate those without a malar stripe.

 

It doesn't look very big, and it doesn't have a crest.

 

Perhaps Golden-green Woodpecker?

 

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Soukous

Just as an aside, I discovered (well I'm sure others knew it but I didn't) that there are no woodpeckers in Australia. At least none listed in my book, bu then they may have them under other names, like Sharp-billed Tree-driller. 

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Soukous
7 hours ago, janzin said:

Perhaps Golden-green Woodpecker?

 

I think you could be right. I just couldn't find one with a similar stripe. 

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janzin
6 hours ago, Soukous said:

 

I think you could be right. I just couldn't find one with a similar stripe. 

If you look at the eBird entry, and look at the Male/Belem it looks very good for it. https://ebird.org/species/gogwoo1/BO-N

 

Where's @inyathi?

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Soukous
3 minutes ago, janzin said:

If you look at the eBird entry, and look at the Male/Belem it looks very good for it. https://ebird.org/species/gogwoo1/BO-N

 

Where's @inyathi?

 

You could take a leaf from his book and just assume you are correct. :P

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inyathi

@janzin Sorry for the delay, yes you are correct, I assumed that you would most likely get it, with it being a South American species.

 

@Soukous Well you had already assumed I was correct, but perhaps I should have said if I’m right, as I hadn’t actually had confirmation that I was right in either game, I hadn’t really intended to win both at the same time, but having identified the location in the other game, I couldn’t resist going for that, and I assumed from the lack of guesses here, that no one would get the shining flycatcher without more prompting. I did try and hint that it was from Australia, as I know you’ve been there, so I guessed you’d have a book.:P but you weren't biting. 

 

I then got a bit side-tracked by your comment about the fact that there are no woodpeckers in Australia.   

   

The great 19th Century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who was a contemporary and rival of Darwin’s, having independently come up with the same theory of natural selection to explain evolution, forcing Darwin to stop dithering and get on and publish On the Origin of Species, he during his time exploring the Malay Archipelago, had identified that there is a dividing line between the islands of Bali and Lombok that separates the fauna of Asia on the west side from that of Australasia on the east side, this was then named the Wallace Line. There is, so I’ve just discovered, only one species of woodpecker that crosses it, the Sunda pygmy woodpecker, it occurs on both sides and is the only woodpecker found in the Lesser Sunda Islands east of the Wallace Line occurring as far east as Alor Island, which is very close to Timor, but curiously it doesn’t occur there, from Alor Island to Australia is just short of 400 miles, so that’s as close as woodpeckers get to Australia. The Wallace Line is not the only dividing line, there's also the Weber Line and the Lydekker Line

 

Wallacea.png
Wallacea
Altaileopard / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

 

The Greater Sunda Islands west of the Wallace Line, were once all part of the Southeast Asian landmass, until rising sea levels converted them into the islands that they are now. The Lombok Strait is a deep trench, so Bali and Lombok were always separated, it’s quite obvious that tigers for example, could not swim the Lombok Strait and thus only occurred West of the Wallace Line and that marsupial mammals could not cross the other way. When sea levels were much lower and the Greater Sundas were part of the Asian mainland, New Guinea was joined to Australia and many of the other islands East of the Wallace Line were either also connected or much closer together than they are now. The Indonesian Islands in between Borneo and New Guinea are collectively known as Wallacea

 

Wallacea_Map.png
Wallacea Map
Gossipguy / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) 

 

The largest is Sulawesi and remarkably it has monkeys, that likely swam there, coming from the west and marsupial cuscuses that swam there from the east, at the appropriate moment the gap between it and its western and eastern neighbours was small enough that mammals could make it across, whether by accident or design. The possum like cuscuses are the only marsupials found naturally outside of Australasia or the Americas. Short stretches of ocean are no barrier at all to birds, so there is a bit more overlap with birds, I would imagine that competition would have prevented too many Asian birds from colonising Australasia and too many Australian birds going the other way, there is for example just one species of hornbill in New Guinea, the Blyth’s or Papuan hornbill, but it never made it on to Australia, where there are none.

 

I’ve tried to find an answer online for why there are no woodpeckers in Australasia, but I didn’t find one, I can only assume that there were no spare niches available for woodpeckers, that would have allowed them to colonise. It is an interesting question, so I’m a bit surprised I didn’t find a proper attempt at an answer. There are none also in Madagascar, this is I suppose less odd, as the Mozambique Channel is pretty wide, wider that the gaps between the islands of Wallacea and the gap between those islands and Borneo in the west and New Guinea in the east, and obviously when sea levels were lower the gaps were not as wide as shown on the map. 

 

Whatever the answer, that's enough of a distraction, back to the game            

 

Edited by inyathi
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janzin

@inyathi thanks for the education on the ranges of Woodpeckers. I did know there were none in Australia...but not until I was researching the birds for my trip there. There are also none in New Zealand.  

 

Here's my next entry. You asked for an LBJ :)

 

1130322860_JZ8_2738a1.jpg.527d618e472094a70814c0bc71ae0d59.jpg

 

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inyathi

@janzin I had a feeling that was coming, now of course, since you've challenged me, I have to see how quickly I can come up with an answer, lest you start thinking you've stumped me:lol:

 

We are clearly back in the Old World, rather than the New World, because it is definitely a lark, but my first look didn't tell me Africa or Asia, so I need to narrow it down and the obvious way to do that, is consider your travels.

 

I decided to start my search in India, for two reasons 1) I think you would very likely pick an Indian lark in the hope of fooling me, because that is exactly what I would do, if I had a suitable photo, and I know from having read your reports in the past, that you've been to some, what I might call larky bits of India, so I'm sure you would have seen a few lark species there.. 2) There are fewer larks in India, so it makes sense to look at them and rule them out first before looking at Africa, if I find a likely species in India, that will save a lot of time, because Africa has too many larks,

 

After consulting my India book and having a quick perusal of the Oriental Bird Club's image database, I do think this could be an Indian lark species, so I will take a guess and hope that I am right and that it isn't in fact an African one.   

 

I will say Greater short-toed lark?

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janzin

@inyathi I can't fault your reasoning and you are very, very, very close. I'd say about 1/100th of a chromosome away... (okay, that's not at all scientific but you get my drift.) 

 

 

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Soukous

Hume's Short-toed Lark?

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janzin
12 hours ago, Soukous said:

Hume's Short-toed Lark?

 

One word away :)

 

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inyathi

@janzin I'm pleased that I was very close and not way off the mark, so I'm quite happy that I got it wrong, larks are really not that easy, since @Soukous hasn't come back with another answer, then I'll say I assume it's lesser short-toed. Unlike with the last one, I was confident on the country but not at all certain I had the right species, so I'm not too surprised, that I ended up picking the wrong one. 

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janzin

@inyathiActually still not quite right!

 

But to be fair, I'm looking it up now and actually it was a split in 2016 and its very possible your book doesn't have it as such.

 

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inyathi

@janzin

 

Ah okay so I wasn't so wrong after all, the book does have it, but only as a subspecies of greater short-toed lark, I will now say it is

 

Eastern Short-toed Lark Calandrella dukhunensis

 

 

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janzin

@inyathi you've got it now, although I know it as Syke's Short-toed Lark but it seems the names are both used.  https://ebird.org/species/sstlar4

 

This was split in 2016 from Greater, according to Clements. 

 

from eBird:

 

3. Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla has been split into Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla (previously ssp longipennis) and Sykes’s Short-toed Lark Calandrella dukhunensis. Both species occur in India and while in general, it is considered that all birds in the N and NW are probably Greater Short-toed Lark and those in the E and S are Sykes’s Short-toed Lark, the regions of overlap are unclear, as are the field identification features to look out for.

According to current literature:

Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide says, “In NW, wintering longipennis somewhat paler overall, and smaller billed than dukhunensis, which winters mostly in S and E, and has more heavily streaked, rufescent upperparts, and brighter rufous-buff breast-sides.”

Handbook of the Birds of the World, -Vol 9 says, “longipennis is greyish-sandy and finely streaked above, bill relatively small; dukhunensis is distinctive, larger, longer-winged and slightly smaller-billed than other races, dark brown and heavily streaked above, buff-washed below, legs dark.”

 

 

This bird was photographed in Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar, Gujarat.  Since I never did a trip report for that part of my trip the photo wouldn't be found on ST, although it is on my website.

 

Now, in all honesty I am going by what our birding guide told us at the time, I certainly couldn't tell it apart by looks so this was a really tricky one and I probably should have let you go with Greater Short-toed Lark. But hey its all in fun, and hopefully a bit educational!

 

Back to you.....

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Soukous
9 hours ago, inyathi said:

since @Soukous hasn't come back with another answer

 

I don't spend all day looking at my computer :rolleyes:

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inyathi

I went with Eastern short-toed because that's the name on the Birdlife website, but I did nearly add Sykes's short-toed because I saw that name also. I knew that You had certainly been to Ranthambore and was fairly sure you'd been to Gujarat where I've not been, although I wasn't sure exactly where. I do always try to have some idea where everyone playing this game has been, but it's not always easy to keep track of everyone's travels, I've read plenty of reports on India over the years, including visits to Gujarat, but I don't always recall who wrote them. I do have to confess since you mentioned your website, that I have looked at it on occasion, but only to see where else you've been, places that you might not mentioned here, because I know that like me, you don't write reports on everywhere you've been to. But I wouldn't look at your bird photos, to find a bird, there's no satisfaction at all to be had in cheating.

 

This one might be a bit difficult.   

 

9482940588_aa7bbd800b_o.jpg 

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inyathi

Well of course, there's another obvious reason why I like to know, roughly where other players of the game have been and that's so I can pick a nice hard one :lol: , I only have one other shot of this bird, which might help a bit more.

 

9480148883_0d688b246a_o.jpg 

 

  

Edited by inyathi
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