Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Birding across continents: Yellow Wattles and Lapwings...

I have been lucky - lucky in the sense that in the last one year I have made birding trips to two other continents - Australia in Oct last year and Africa, Jul this year. I was lucky to see similar species across the three continents - that is Asia (Indian Subcontinent to be precise), Africa (East Africa) and Australia. The observations on the similar species that I have observed in these three places is wonderful. I am no scientist - and do not proclaim myself to be an ornithologist - but to a keen birdwatcher like me - to discover facts like this - simply by observation is a great and interesting thing to observe and study.

I intend discuss all such birds. My birding trips have been - the tourist variety - not the kind that I might have preferred - staying for days and observing - but then something is better than nothing ? Okay the first similar birds that I saw across were the Lapwings, I am talking about Lapwings with Yellow Wattles. So in India we have our Yellow-wattled Lapwing, a bird not very common but fairly common (don't get me wrong please - what I mean is less common than very common), in Australian East Coast I saw Masked Lapwing, again a fairly common bird and in Uganda I saw Wattled Plover or also called Wattled Lapwing. The Wattled Lapwing in Uganda was seen by me only in Murchison while on a safari - but where I did see them - they seemed common enough.

The birds have been presented here with my home bird first followed by Australian and then African, purely in the sequence I have seen them in my life.
Picture of Yellow-wattled Lapwing in flight (India)
Yellow-wattled Lapwing (India)

The cute baby: Yellow-wattled Lapwing Chick (India)

I virtually saw this bird along the entire East Coast. There are two subspecies This picture is of Race novaehollandiae. Just don't ask me how to spell it.
This picture is of the Race miles. The basic difference visually is the Wattle, The black on the crown, nape and going down the side of the neck.
The bird with the smallest yellow wattles. My sightings were in the Murchison fall area - but seemed fairly common there.

Okay there is blur - but I thought I will share this - have only limited pictures to compare.
Now that we have seen the three birds that I saw over these three continents - let me try and compare them a little more.
Bird Family Size (cm) Remarks
Yellow-wattled Lapwing Charadriidae
The birds behaved exactly as the other. The behaviour may have been in part due to belonging to the same family. The african birds I did not hear them - seemed quite but my exposure was for just 2 days, the Indian Yellow-wattled calls only when disturbed and the Australian was nearer to our Red-wattled Lapwing - same irritating calls over and over again.
Masked Lapwing Charadriidae
African Wattled Lapwing Charadriidae

However listening to the sounds they made was absolutely similar with small variations here and there. If you do listen to either of them - you cannot go wrong guessing that you are listening to a lapwing. None of the birds discussed are migrants so stands to logic that coming from the same family they got split as the land masses moved away from each other and over period they developed same and different - all at the same time. I will not speculate into the science of all this but am satisfied to be a witness to these small things and classify under the small miracles of Life...

I hope you have liked going through the blog. The references to the blog has been done by Wiki, xeno-canto and referencing the books I had bought for the birding at these three places. They are the best I got to pick from a lot of books on the subject floating around. I am leaving a link to all the books I have referred - before and after the tours...

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