Interesting pratincole at k20 salt pans (Main Area)
Yesterday 18/5/12 while leaving the k-20 salt pans from the southern side Barak Granit and I noticed a pratincole at the south-eastern corner of the ponds. Already from a distance, the bird appeared interesting, looking quite dark and somewhat compact. We suspected it could be a Black-winged Pratincole (BwP) and went to check on it. Approaching the bird I started to take record shots. Getting closer the first obvious thing was an extremely short tail, much shorter than the wings, so naturally we wondered whether we were watching an Oriental Pratincole (OP). The bird seemed indeed small and long-legged, and the plumage appeared cold-toned, somewhat darker than a typical Collared Pratincole (CP).
After taking decent record shots we flushed the bird to take pictures in flight. Red underwing coverts and a pale trailing edge from above were obvious. Although the short tail was also obvious in flight, we assumed the bird is probably an odd CP and moved on.
Back at home we studied the bird again by looking carefully at the images presented here. We then read the detailed article by Gerald Driessens & Lars Svensson. With yet no clear-cut conclusion we present the images and our thoughts. This post includes the text, images will follow.
There are some 11-13 characters that can be used to separate the species. We would like to keep this first post short, and thus only discuss some of the key characters. Some of the minor issues we are still studying.
The bird shows some good features for OP: a remarkable short tail (much shorter than wing tips), which should be one of the best way to tell the species apart. Otherwise there is the overall jizz: the bird appeared long-legged and condensed, with a short rear and upright posture. The images indicate a few other supportive features:
- Warm brown-nape contrasting cold grey lower-nape / upper back, neck sides and breast, forming a large grey collar. Checking a sample images this appears to characterize most possibly all OP and no CP(?).
- Extensive black on lores, creating a clear angle with black borders of throat patch. In CP the black lines appear to begin before the eye and have a somewhat rounded angle.
- Wide, oval nostril shape. This character, typical of OP has been mentioned by Driessens and Svensson and a key feature to assist separating the two species. In CP it should be a narrow, slit-shaped nostril.
Other key characters
- A narrow but obvious pale trailing edge on secondaries. This stripe appears narrower, and not as pure white in CP. The color appears off-white, more or less buffish in places. Possibly some of the secondaries are molted and these appear to have even narrower white tips. Whereas this appeared to us problematic for OP on the first place, Driessens and Svensson mention 30% of OP showing such narrow edge, and a brief search of images on the web indicates that indeed many OP do show this character.
- Form the pictures it appears that the red patch on under-wing coverts does not appear to extend to the carpal patch. I pushed the exposure to the extreme, and although some red tips may appear, this part of the wing appears mostly dark. Unfortunately I have no good, clear image of the under wing. Yet, Driessens and Svensson have criticized the concept that CP should show an extensive red patch compared with OP, and concluded that on average there is no difference between the species concerning this character.
At this point we welcome any thought about this bird. I will hopefully discuss a few more characters tomorrow.
- Interesting pratincole at k20 salt pans - Eyal Shochat, 19.05.2012, 15:10
- On ground - Eyal Shochat, 19.05.2012, 15:13
- Underwing - Eyal Shochat, 19.05.2012, 15:17
- upper wing I - Eyal Shochat, 19.05.2012, 15:20
- Upper wing II - Eyal Shochat, 19.05.2012, 15:24
- Head close-up - Eyal Shochat, 19.05.2012, 16:17
- Possible solution - yoavpe, 20.05.2012, 06:42
- Interesting pratincole at k20 salt pans - Barak Granit, 20.05.2012, 12:46
- Interesting pratincole at k20 salt pans - itaisha, 20.05.2012, 13:42