[Mystery bird] African Golden-breasted Bunting, Emberiza flaviventris, photographed in Mikumi, Tanzania, Africa. Surely one of the prettiest little birds in Tanzania. They were quite common farther south, especially around Mikumi National Park. This one was near Mikumi town, not in the park. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]
Nikon D300, 600 mm lens. ISO 500, f/6.3, 1/800 sec. Exposure Compensation 0.
Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.
Looks like an American Robin in drag.
I've been enjoying mystery birds and learning field marks from the talented birders on here for a little while, and I thought I'd join in.
My guess is an African Golden-breasted Bunting. I worked in Southern Kenya for a few years and didn't see this colorful bunting, but would have loved to.
I agree with adw; I believe the very similar Somali Bunting (Emberiza poliopleura) tends to have less black on its forehead.
Certainly the overall body shape, and especially bill shape, points to bunting and surprisingly there are only five species recorded for Tanzania- of the five, both the Cape Bunting (Emberiza capensis) and very similar Rock or Cinnamon-breasted Bunting (Emberiza tahapisi) can be excluded for the lack of yellow on the breast and neither have wingbars... the three yellow breasted species are very similar (and all three also have two white wingbars), but the Cabanis's (Emberiza cabanisi) lacks the white stripe below the eye, leaving us with the two suggested above, the Golden-breasted (Emberizia flaviventris) or Somali (Emberizia poliopleura) both having a white crown with lateral black stripes, a white supercilium and additional white stripe below the eye, brown wings with two white wingbars, with the yellow throat and breast fading to white/buff flanks and belly...
In the few photos I have been able to find, it appears that the Somali tends to have slightly less yellow on the breast, but probably more distinct, the mantle on the Golden-breasted is clearly chestnut whereas on the Somali it is still brown but with white edgings to the feathers giving an overall scalloped look... slight differences in the facial markings and head stripes seem to vary within each species as much as between (and there is very likely some misidentification on the various photos I can find) so I'm not sure that is a key differentiator... I think the solid chesnut mantle on our bird above points indeed to adw and carel's choice of Golden-breasted Bunting
yech, hate doing that- I apologise for the misspelling of the genus for the Golden-breasted and Somali Buntings in the comment above- it should indeed be spelled Emberiza without the extra "i"...
OK, it appears that my earlier assertion in comment #4 holds true... while there are numerous descriptions of the Golden-breasted (flaviventris) I can only find one description of the Somali (poliopleura and that from an 1896 description of birds from the Ethiopian region:
"Adults. Exactly like E. flavivcntris in the colouring of the entire head and neck ; but differs in the back and lesser wing-coverts being much more mottled, these feathers having broad edges of rufous buff or ashy white and having also some partially hidden black centres ; white pattern of tail almost confined to the terminal quarter but extending on to the ends of the five outer pairs of feathers ; sides of body mostly white, the flanks grey, often with blackish streaks or spots. Iris brown ; bill pale brown, darker
on the culmen ; legs flesh colour. Total length 5'7 inches, culmen 0-45, wing 3-0, tail 2-6, tarsus 0-65."