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Photo Information
Copyright: Jan Hendrik van Rooyen (janhendrik) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 363 W: 58 N: 667] (2392)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-02-04
Categories: Birds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of Southern Africa II [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-05-04 5:56
Viewed: 4608
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
African (Common) Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)

I got this picture on a late afternoon trip to the reserve. I was very lucky to press the shutter just when the little bird took off. These moments are impossible to predict.

A small bird - the male is black and white with a red-orange chest. Size 13-14cm - this bird is smaller than a Cape Sparrow. Afrikaans: Gewone Bontrokkie

The bill is short and straight. The bill is black, the eye black or dark brown, and the legs and feet black

This is a dumpy bird with a shortish tail. The male has a black cap, which extends onto the back of the neck and the throat. The breast and upper belly is a rich reddish-brown colour, and there is a large white area on the side of the neck and around the shoulder. The wing is dark brown and there is a patch of white on the wing too. The female has a greyish brown head and dull orange breast. It has no white patch on the side of the neck, but has a pale, whitish belly, and a slight eye-stripe above the eye.

Both male and females and males have an obvious white rump.

This is a bird of damp grasslands and vleis. It is also found in pastures and fields. In many areas it is resident, but some birds are non-breeding migrants, and in that case are not restricted to damp areas, but may be found in open drier country.

It is usually seen in pairs and usually perches up on a stick or shrub. It flies down onto the ground, and often flicks its wings.

This species eats mainly insects and worms.

When disturbed it gives a harsh three note alarm call: tseep....tchick tchick. The call sounds like two small stones being struck together - hence the name. It breeds mainly in the summer months - from July to December. The nest is well hidden inside a clump of vegetation and consists of an untidy bowl of grass and rootlets. It is lined neatly with rootlets and animal hairs.

SOURCE: African (Common) Stonechat


Camera: Canon 20D
Camera mode: Aperture priority
Time of day: 17H10
Date: 4 February 2007
Lens: Canon 100-400mm IS USM
Shutter Speed: 1/2000 sec
F-Stop: F/8.0
Focal Length: 400mm
Support: Hand Held
ISO: 400
Original file type: Raw (CR2)

SelenE, joey, jaycee, pirate, Dan, MMM, elroyie has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

very nice shot...

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-05-04 6:04]

Hi Jan,
Timing was very good! I liked the composition, sharpness, colors and the lighting. Good eye contact. Well done and TFS


Wow ! What a composition. The way the wings form an L against a nice background makes this picture very attractive.

Murali Santhanam

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2007-05-04 6:14]

Hi Jan, he looks so good taking off like this. The Stonechat is nice and sharp, and the blurred wing movement makes him look so good. Well done

  • Great 
  • Bac Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 93 W: 3 N: 33] (486)
  • [2007-05-04 6:22]


Good sharpness, the composition is also good. Nice shot. TFS.


  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2007-05-04 6:33]

Jan,a very nice shot and lovely sharpness lovely composition. Excellent position. TFS

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-05-04 7:21]

Hi Jan,
decent shot with an amazing freeze-moment.
Well done,

Nice action shot, Jan!

  • Great 
  • GLEM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 540 W: 87 N: 750] (10)
  • [2007-05-04 7:46]

hi Jan,
superbe image saisie au moment du décolage :) c'est parfaitement maîtrisé techniquement pour avoir le corps net et les ailes qui suggèrent le mouvement.


  • Great 
  • tinman Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 242 W: 7 N: 458] (2663)
  • [2007-05-04 10:12]

No, you lie, this was a stuffed bird in the studio.......


excellent, must go to this reserver sometime soon as well

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-05-04 10:50]

Hi Jan,

Wonderful, wonderful! You caught him perfectly. Sharp details, lovely eye, great colors and what a pose!


  • Great 
  • pirate Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 799 W: 152 N: 1186] (7474)
  • [2007-05-04 12:38]

the pose and compo are brilliant

  • Great 
  • Dan Gold Star Critiquer [C: 113 W: 0 N: 2] (18)
  • [2007-05-04 16:00]

Hi Jan, great moment, excellent exposure and details. The afternoon light create a superb image.
TFS, Dan

Hi Jan Hendrik,
Just great.
Wonderful photography.

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2007-05-04 21:49]

Hi Jan
Very good capture, nice color with good sharpness , I like your POV and DOF.

Hello Jan Hendrik,
This is such a lovely shot! I like this mouvement that you caught, details, composition, POV and exposure a lot. This is a beautiful specie and this light in its eye is fabulous. The BG is superb too. Well done and TFS,

This is an excellent picture, you took the picture in the right moment, very good quality and composition, well done!

Wow, really nice photo, I havent had much luck with bird action shots, this gives me inspiration to try harder!

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