Little brown jobs or 'LBJs'
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Chestnut-backed Sparrowlark L: 13 cm (5") This small bird is aptly named, being a ground-loving lark in behaviour but shaped more like a small sparrow . The male is a striking white-eared, chestnut-backed, black-bellied bird; the female is more subdued but still shows a characteristic black belly, pale nape patch and chestnut back . It is a common resident, mainly in the eastern half of Kruger, but it is locally nomadic with numbers increasing when favoured grasses produce abundant seed . Zitting Cisticola L: 11 cm (4·5") One of the small, streaky, brown cisticolas, this is a tiny, short-tailed, warbler-like bird with pale spots on the tip of the tail . It is a fairly common and widespread resident of Kruger’s grasslands, where it forages low down for small invertebrates . This aptly named cisticola is most often detected and identified by its incessant, metallic “zit. . . zit. . . zit” call, which is often given in a display flight, synchronised with deep undulations, especially in spring and summer (October– March) . The similar Desert Cisticola (not illustrated) is less common, prefers drier areas, and has a more complicated, less monotonous song . Little brown jobs or 'LBJs' female male zitting cisticola 72 Rufous-naped Lark L: 15–18 cm (6–7") Larks are small- to medium-sized ground birds that walk and run, rather than hop (as do finches) or cling to upright stems (like bishops and whydahs) . This is a large, robust, rust-coloured lark, with a short crest and a hefty bill . Rufous-naped Lark is a common resident of the grassy savannahs and woodlands, particularly in eastern Kruger, where it forages on the ground for small insects and seeds . It is most conspicuous in the spring and summer (October– March) when it perches up, singing a sweet “treee-leee-treeloo”, occasionally drooping its wings and jumping with a small flutter . It may also fly up, exposing the broad rufous wings that it shares with the much smaller and scarcer Flappet Lark (not illustrated) . African Pipit L: 17 cm (6·5") A medium-sized, slender pipit with long legs, told from larks by its longer tail and slimmer bill, and from other similar species by its habit of walking rather than hopping on the ground . Although it appears very plain from a distance, a close view reveals a bold pale eyebrow and moustache, a streaky back and a band of streaking across the chest, but otherwise pale unmarked underparts . The long, slender bill is dark with a yellowish base . The much smaller and scarcer Bushveld Pipit (page 122) has a short tail and plainer face . Plain-backed and Buffy Pipits (neither illustrated) also occur in Kruger but are much rarer: both are unstreaked on the back and have buff rather than white outer tail feathers . The African Pipit is an abundant resident throughout Kruger, where it favours short grass plains and stubble . BIRDS OF PLAINS AND OPEN WOODLANDS 73 ...