Green Sandpiper?

Need confirmation but we think that this is a Green sandpiper – seen this morning at the Darvill Sewerage Works outside Pietermaritzburg. Note the prominent eye-ring with no supercillium behind the eye (not a Wood Sandpiper); the barring on its tail; the lack of a white shoulder patch (thus not a Common Sandpiper); the dark back with white speckling faintly visible. When it took off the rump only was white (not up the back) and there was distinct barring on the end of its tail.

Green Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper

Unidentified Raptors

Dear All,

Peter Steyn has asked me to share photos of a raptor taken on the Kafue River at Mayukuyuku Safari Camp on 13 August 2014 because he is not certain about it. The co-ordinates to the safari camp are: S 14 deg 57.2′ E 26 deg 02.4′.

Some points are:
  • It was buzzard-size, like a JB. I thought it was a buzzard but according to some maps there are no buzzards there. Peter has excluded buzzard.
  • It seemed to stick to the riverine area, as though that was its natural habitat.
  • The “feathering” on the legs is very fine and almost absent.
  • Some feathers on the nape and towards the crown have distinctive marks on.
  • I think there was barring on top of the tail. I did not detect a white rump.
  • The whitish feathers on the sides of the head and neck seem notable.
Please click on the photos below to enlarge them. Leave your comments beneath the photos at the end of the post. 
Unidentified Raptor
Unidentified Raptor
Unidentified Raptor
Unidentified Raptor
Unidentified Raptor
Unidentified Raptor
John Fincham

Correction: Fiery-necked Nightjar behaving like an European Nightjar.

On Sunday Dave Rimmer and I saw what we believed to be a European Nightjar as we were playing golf at Cato Ridge Golf Club.

It was midday. The bird flew up from the ground into a nearby tree lying along a horizontal branch – Europen Nightjars style.

On Monday and Wednesday, Sally and I went to see if was still there. And there it was in exactly the same place both days.

However Faansie Peacock has corrected our ID – see his comments below the second photo after clicking on it.

Paul & Sally Bartho


For Identification

Unidentified species seen at Hilton College NR which eluded all our attempts to get a great sighting. Full grey head to just below the eye, white throat, greeny-yellow stomach and green back. Anyone got any ideas? If so please have your say below this post. The closest we came to identifying the bird was that it could be a Bar-throated Apalis without the bar or a Karoo Eremomela way out of range.

Unknown Species. The beak points down just to the left of the green leaf. It's eye can be seen just behind the twig running across its face.
Unknown Species. The beak points down just to the left of the green leaf. It’s eye can be seen just behind the twig running across its face.

Sunbirds for ID

Please help with ID of these two sets of Sunbirds. Both sent to me by a resident of Le Domaine here in Hillcrest, Durban.

Click on the picture and add your comments below the enlarged Photo.

The First set:

The Second set:

The first 2 pictures in this sequence were taken on 4th April and the last one on the 19th April. Looking up at what? Scouring above could yield no clues – maybe you have an idea?

Mystery Birds for ID

Please enter your ID for each bird with reasoning by clicking on the image and writing your comments in the box below the enlarged image.

The following 4 birds were seen in the Satara area in March.

The birds below were seen at Lake St Bernard above the St Bernard Peak Hotel, just south of Underberg – a Chat? or….. what?. it was seen in the company of another Chat – second picture  below.

Mystery Warblers

An email from Norman Freeman:

Even with Faansie Peacocks LBJ book I have doubts on a number of LBJ’s.

Could we post these on our website for comment from folk in the know please. To reply please add your comments at the end of this post or on the photos as you enlarge them.

While birding at the Eston Sugar Mill ponds this week I focussed a little on the LBJ’s skulking in the dense water grass just above water level. Three of these have me doubting my labelling them with certainty.

These are:

1. Two photo’s of a warbler at the waters edge, very elusive, and moving in amongst the broad leafed water grass and sedges. My thinking, with it’s very distinctive white / cream circled eye, steep crown at times and dark legs is that it could be:
a. Marsh Warbler – the habitat at waters edge in broad leafed vegetation; its steep crown seem to say yes, but it does not have yellow legs.
b. African Reed Warbler – but lacks dark stripe from eye to beak. The habitat is right. Many of the photo’s on Roberts Multi-media of this bird lack the dark stripe. (This is my 1st choice)
c. Lesser Swamp Warbler – but lacks conspicuous white eye brow.
d. Why not a Eurasian reed warbler?

2. The next photo (753) below is of a warbler which was with another bird which had awesome clear distinct markings and which I ID’d as a Sedge Warbler (no photo unfortunately). Both birds were together. Could this photo attached be the same but just drab?

Mystery Bird No. 2.
Mystery Bird No. 2.

3. And finally, photo 766 below has light coloured legs, a white eye brow and distinct stripes on breast. Not too many warblers have striped breasts.
Could it be:
a. Lesser Swamp Warbler
b. Marsh Warbler
c. A Cisticola???

Mystery Bird No. 3
Mystery Bird No. 3

Thanking you,

Wood Duck – female

One of the residents at le Domaine – Di Wayne, took the following photo of a mystery duck seen on the property. The photo was taken 7 years ago and I thought it might still be of interest to our followers.

Sally and I have puzzled over its ID and believe it to be a female Wood Duck – native to North America.

What do you think?

North American female Wood Duck we suspect.
North American female Wood Duck we suspect.

Why is this not a Common Whitethroat?


Help required to identify the bird in the following picture taken in Cumberland Private Nature Reserve (near Pietermaritzburg) this past weekend. We thought it was a flycatcher but the rufous wings puzzle us. Very like a Common Whitethroat?

Mystery Bird
Mystery Bird


Paul & Sally Bartho



Which Eagle is this?

Which Eagle is this?

This guy was perched on a termite mound in fairly dense woodland near Crocodile bridge in KNP in December this year. I would like to hear opinions as to ID. My first thoughts were Wahlbergs Eagle and did not unfortunately take any side view pics. On closer examination the bird does show characteristics of a young Lesser Spotted Eagle (brown eyes) in the whitish patches on the upper wings, no crest evident and fairly “stovepipe” leggings. Perhaps other members can throw some light.

Which Eagle is this?
Which Eagle is this?

Colin Soper

Problem Birds by Norman Freeman

Problem Birds by Norman Freeman

Waders have always been a problem for me and some should be classified as LBJ’s.
Will it be possible please for readers to assist with positive ID’s for the following with reasons.

Slide 1

DSC00125 I believe to be a Grey Plover. Correct?

Slide 2
White-Fronted PloverA White-Fronted Plover BUT

Slide 3

White-Fronted Plover - Umgeni MouthI also thought to be the same but the beak is longer?

Slide 5:

Common Sandpiper - Umgeni Mouth (2)I believe is a Common Sandpiper but then what is the bird on the next Slide?

Confirm (6)Its beak appears to curl upwards. The photo is very poor quality.

Slide 6: Confirm (5)This should be a common Cattle Egret with both beak and legs yellow BUT it was a single bird mixing with gulls, plovers, terns etc with all the above which seemed unusual.

All the above photos were taken at the Umgeni River mouth this past week.

Slide 7: DSC00223An LBJ at Nshongweni – any takers??

Slide 8: DSCF0512An Eagle just on Hella Hella side of Richmond. (an immature female Jackal Buzzard??)

Slide 9 and 10:

A Canary also just outside Richmond. The “grey” neck is I think what is throwing me with an ID.

Thanking you,
Norman Freeman

Mystery Sunbird

Attached are pictures  of a juvenile sunbird resting on our deck at Le Domaine, Hillcrest. It sat there for quite a while (at least 5 minutes). I initially thought that it had flown into the glass door or window and had injured itself as it sat very still and hardly moved allowing us to get very close for a good photo opportunity.

When I attempted to try and pick it up it flew away with a little cheep call.

The size is around 10/11cm and with a yellow gape we thought that it could be either a juvenile White-bellied or a Greater Double-collared Sunbird, which are the most common at Le Domaine. The Amethyst being a lot larger at 14 cm. The width of the wooden boards in the photos are 7 cm – giving you a good size comparison.

Juvenile Sunbird Resting on deck
Juvenile Sunbird Resting on deck
Juvenile Sunbird Resting on deck
Juvenile Sunbird Resting on deck

Looking forward to your comments. Enter them below this post please.

Roger and Noreen Broomhall

Mystery Owl

These photo’s, taken in our Gillitts property this week, I think is an African Wood-Owl (perhaps immature) because of the dark eyes and also the yellow bill and feet BUT it lacks the dark crown and general dark head surround. My second guess would be the Marsh Owl but beak and feet are not black. Please can someone ID for me positively. It is residing on our property and usually keeps fairly low (+/- 1 to 2 metres from ground level.)

Mystery Owl - Gillitts
Mystery Owl – Gillitts
Mystery Owl - Gillitts
Mystery Owl – Gillitts

Please enter your opinion in Comments below. Your reasoning would be most valuable.

Norman Freeman