Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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[Mystery bird] Taveta Golden Weaver, also known as the Taveta Weaver, Ploceus castaneiceps, photographed in the Pangani River Camp, Tanzania, Africa. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

Image: Dan Logen, January 2010 [larger view].

Nikon D300, 600 mm lens, ISO 800, 1/640 sec, f/7.1, Exposure compensation 0.

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

Review all mystery birds to date.


  1. #1 David Hilmy
    February 27, 2010

    I suspect this one is named after one of the Bantu tribes from southern Kenya- a male still in non-breeding plumage or perhaps a sub-adult, showing a hint of the “chestnut” color on the “head” that specifies it’s place…

  2. #2 carel
    February 27, 2010

    …or the effects of peyote on the mind?

  3. #3 Corey Husic
    February 27, 2010

    Looks to me like a Taveta Golden Weaver (Ploceus castaneiceps), based on the yellow body, orange spot on the back of the head, and lack of other markings.

  4. #4 Kim Birmingham
    February 27, 2010

    and the Taveta are one of the Bantu tribes, good one David! I suppose “castaneiceps” means “chestnut headed”?

  5. #5 David Hilmy
    February 27, 2010

    Absolutely correct Kim… castanum is the Latin for “chestnut” as seen in the Horse-chestnut tree species, Aesculus hippocastanum (hippo is “horse”), or the genus of true chestnuts Castanea… other bird species would include the Forest Woodhoopoe (Phoeniculus casataneiceps), the Chestnut-crowned Gnateater (Conopophaga castaneiceps), and one of the many subspecies of Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia castaneiceps)

  6. #6 blf
    February 28, 2010

    A duck. Because it’s yellow. Admittedly, it should be bobbling around in some soapy bathwater, but I’m guessing someone nailed it to that branch as a practical joke.

  7. #7 Bob O'H
    February 28, 2010

    But blf, canaries are also yellow. And the habitat is also suitable for them. Not that I’ve ever nailed a canary to a branch. Definitely not.

    Anyway, nothing was proved in court. Got it?

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