Mainland Penang, 14 January 2014

I made a late afternoon visit back to the wader pool at Kubang Semang. This time, there only four Ruffs and no stints in evidence, but the Ruffs were closer than previously, giving me a good opportunity to study the differences between the one male and three females present.

Ruff_Kubang Semang_140114_IMG_9926The three females and a Wood Sandpiper (right).

Ruff_Kubang Semang_140114_IMG_1044 Ruff_Kubang Semang_140114_IMG_1035Males (below) are easiest to tell from females (above) when the two can be directly compared, since the male is about 20% larger than the female. However, I was interested to see whether there are other features which make them sexable when seen singly. According to Chandler’s Shorebirds of the Northern Hemisphere, males have a proportionally shorter bill, longer legs and smaller head than females. I would add to that a longer neck, a more angular head profile, and generally more ungainly proportions.

Here’s a female preening.

Eastern Yellow Wagtail_Kubang Semang_140114_IMG_1065I’m always fascinated by Yellow Wagtails, and in particular, wondering whether I would pick out a Western. I reckon my chances are increased by trying to familiarize myself with the bewildering variety of plumages of Eastern races.  This one had dark ear coverts and an obvious white chin, and a supercilium that seemed intermediate between macronyx and tschutschensis. Another Eastern Yellow variation!

Asian Openbill_AID_140114_IMG_9957At Air Itam Dalam we watched a flock of about 450 Asian Openbills gathering to roost.

Great-eared Nightjar_AID_140114_IMG_9963At dusk, a calling Great Eared-nightjar flew by, puffing out its chest as it did so.

Large-tailed Nightjar_AID_140114_IMG_9966Two male Large-tailed Nightjars in territorial dispute.

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4 thoughts on “Mainland Penang, 14 January 2014

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