Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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[Mystery bird] Collared Pratincole, also known as the Common Pratincole, Glareola pratincola, photographed in Mikumi National Park, Tanzania, Africa. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

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

Nikon D300s, 600 mm VR lens, with 1.4 x extender ISO 400, f/8, 1/400 sec.

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

This African species’ morphology and feeding behavior are seemingly incongruous (although wing morphology should be a strong hint). Can you tell me a little more about this?

The long legs of the Collared Pratincole are adapted to its wading lifestyle. However, Pratincoles are unusual for waders because they typically hunt their insect prey on the wing like swallows, although they are also known to feed on the ground, too. Collared Pratincoles are bird of the open country, and are often seen near water in the evening, hawking for insects.

Review all mystery birds to date.


  1. #1 grzebra
    May 29, 2010

    Is it considered bad form to put a species name out there on the first post? My guess a fairly widespread species where the nominate subspecies breeds well up into Europe and across to Pakistan. Field marks: long pointed wings, yellow-ochre throat narrowly bordered with black, white rump and belly, bill black with red at the base. The bird I’m thinking of has a deeply forked tail which I can’t see in this photo. It may also be a juvenile because the throat band is still a little blurry and the breast splotchy. As for feeding and morphology my guess forages in flocks and on the wing catching aerial insects in flight as well as chasing down prey on foot! Very athletic.

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