On my Lakenvlei birding trip I ran into some birds I could not identify. Being a novice birder I dont expect any wonderful new species, but it would be nice if anyone can help me identify, and possible refer me to a good reference. I am using Roberts and Newman as my two references.

NUMBER 1. This ‘Vink’/finch-ish bird has a black face. The back of his head is yellow. Body is Red. Closest match is a “Rooivink” but the colour pattern is different, I think. It kept on harassing the female and chicks of Number 5 at their nest.

NUMBER 2: This seedeater Vink/Finch is Red. All over. Except for the wing shoulder (yellow) and the wings (patterned brown). It also harassed number 5’s female.



NUMBER 3: This sweety perched itself on a bale, next to the wetland and surveyed his world from there for a few minutes… No idea where to start my search. Maybe its still a juvenile?



NUMBER 4: Some kind of janfrederik? Apparently this guy is quite common according to locals bu they dont know the name. I cannot find a matching colour pattern for the breast.


NUMBER 5: This guy baffles me most. Originally I thought it was a Longtailed widow, Euplectes progne that lost its tail early. The female is a good match, and the nest too. The male is the exact build (excluding tail) and behaviour  of a long tailed widow. However, instead of a white band next to the red on the wing shoulder top, it has a yellow band. This yellow band extends to the bottom of the wing, where I expected it to be black (to be Euplectes progne)

CONFIRMED: Euplectes axillaris, Red-Shouldered Widow, Kortstertflap. Confirmed by Lizelle Makovini – Thanks!

Please help with this confusion if you can!


8 thoughts on “Unidentified: Birding

  1. Hi Franz.
    Being an avid birder myself, I thoroughly enjoyed myself trying to identify your birds.
    Numbers 1 and 2 have me stumped. I can’t find a finch type bird with both red and yellow on the head ( I like to use the Sasol bird guide in conjunction with The Birdguide of SA which has actual photographs) and wrt. number 2: I can’t find a bird that is red all over with a yellow shoulder and brown patterned wings.
    Number 3: Could it be a chat, eg. stonechat female?
    Number 4: I looks like a Longclaw to me – either Yellow-throated or Cape (orange throat).
    Number 5: Could it perhaps be the Fan-tailed widowbird. (red-shouldered widow).
    Hope this helps, I would love to know what these birds are 🙂

    • phew! I feel better now. Thanks for the feedback.
      Im going to check & compare in my books. Will let you know (and edit the post) Maybe someone else is giggling in the background while we break our heads 😀

      I will be doing a mid-winter lakenvlei birding wilderness camp. Wanna join? I go space for max 2 more peeps, except if we get more camo net.
      According to the farmer it sometimes gets cold enough for diesel to start freezing, so need to pack that mountain gear. yummy! (thats also when the wattled cranes breed). extra cameras, super long lenses (where available) and many tripods welcome. Access already arranged with the farmer.

      • Ok, I just checked Newman 7th ed, and Robert’s 6th ed:

        Numbers 1& 2 also remains a mystery to me. I am confident that they are of the family Ploceidae (sparrows/weavers…). No picture/plate gives a match.

        Number 3: Agreed. Could be the common stonechat female, Gewone Bontrokkie, Saxicola torquata). Maybe this link is a confirmation:

        If you (or anyone else) agree, I edit the blogpost.

        Number 4: pity I could not get the claws! Yellow throated longclaws and orange throated longclaws seem to have well defined black collars that are lacking here. Maybe this one is a juvy?? I dont think its the cape-/Orange throated-. The Yellow line through the eyes makes it thus the Yellow Throated Longclaw, yes?

        Number 5: I checked some photos on the web. Agree with you! One down: Euplectes axillaris, kortstertflap, Red-Shouldered Widow!!!

        Thanks 🙂

  2. I would be interested in the camp, do you have the dates yet? This past summer I tried in vain to locate the elusive flufftail at Middelpunt. Apparently a summer visitor and afaik it only breeds there. The blue swallows at Kaapschehoop have apparently not returned for a number of years now and I regret not going there sooner.

    • No date confirmed yet, but it will be mid winter. I may also do wilderness camps sooner in other parts of the greater area, hunting blue cranes, secretary birds and other sensitive species (with my camera of course), in areas where mining applications are planned/lodged/approved. I will let you know if you are interested.

      The white winged flufftails (critically endangered) are for all practical purposes impossible to find except with one method I will not mention here. Call or email me and I will give you an idea on how to find them with landowners’ permission – the opportunity comes only twice a year I understand, and I am not directly involved.

      Sad to hear about the Kaapsehoop blue swallows 😦

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