Footprint ID help please

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
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ourspot
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Footprint ID help please

Postby ourspot » Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:53 am

Was down at my one my regular spots in Ngunguru this morning and saw some small fresh footprints in the sand that was hoping someone could ID. Was thinking they could possibly be Spotless Crake but the location is a small tidal mangrove area so wasn't sure if they would be present there.

The footprints are approx 45-50mm (the pen in the image is 140mm) and have three toes out front and one out the back. The tracks went from the mangroves across a small sand mound and back into the mangroves (approx 15m).

In the same area is:
– a Banded Rail I irregularly see, but I often see its prints which are bigger and don't have the back toe mark
– the odd Pukeko tho today I did see a young one with it's parents nearby but it would be too big and there were no other tracks on the sand

There are Spotless Crakes a couple of km away but in a more typical coastal wetland reed area. Other possible could be Marsh Crake but unsure what their footprints are like, and they are naturally very scarce this far north.

And I've never seen any other shorebirds in the area where the footprints were.

Any help appreciated

Cheers Scott
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ourspot
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Re: Footprint ID help please

Postby ourspot » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:05 pm

And does anyone know of any resources showing NZ bird footprints? Would be an interesting reference
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Oscar Thomas
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Re: Footprint ID help please

Postby Oscar Thomas » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:23 pm

Let's stake it out over the weekend, at dawn or dusk. I'm keen to see more birds around Ngunguru way.
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lloydesler
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Re: Footprint ID help please

Postby lloydesler » Thu Nov 09, 2017 10:18 pm

Pipit
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ourspot
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Re: Footprint ID help please

Postby ourspot » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:23 pm

Went back to the location today and found some much clearer bird footprints in the wet sand (rather than the crumbly dry sand the last footprints were in). The footprints were 45mm long from front toe to back toe. Hopefully this image may make it easier for any experts out there to help narrow down what the bird might be. Any help would be much appreciated. Cheers Scott.
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Oscar Thomas
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Re: Footprint ID help please

Postby Oscar Thomas » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:46 pm

I agree it is likely pipit, they tend to drag their back toe in the sand.
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Jim_j
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Re: Footprint ID help please

Postby Jim_j » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:24 pm

Scott - I could be wrong but I recall there was an article in Notornis a number of years ago re a survey of rails in the Waimea estuary in Nelson - got a feeling there were photos of various footprints - might be worth a search.

cheers
jim
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ourspot
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Re: Footprint ID help please

Postby ourspot » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:37 pm

Thanks for the comments - I reckon the Pipit could be correct as they do have a long back toe. And I think the front 3 toes on a Spotless Crake would be longer and have a much wider spread. I haven't seen a Pipit at this location before but will definitely keep an eye out for one. Cheers Scott
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Nick Allen
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Re: Footprint ID help please

Postby Nick Allen » Sun Dec 03, 2017 12:49 pm

Looks like the bird was hopping, which would be a bit odd for pipit, which generally walks/runs rather than hops.

This paper from Notornis is probably better for ID purposes than the Waimea Inlet one, though it only features a few spp. Lots of work to do on ID from footprints in NZ I guess. https://notornis.osnz.org.nz/wetland-wildlife-tracks

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