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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Which spoonbill is which?

Click for detailed view.

The importance of proper identification became apparent to me when studying the reference photographs for this bird painting. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that the two birds in my photograph were in fact, of different species; one being an African Spoonbill and the other, an immature Roseate spoonbill. While this may be unimportant for some, the significance becomes clear when one submits a painting for inclusion in a wildlife exhibit or competition for example, where anatomical accuracy and scientific description is utterly essential.

Had I not noticed the subtle characteristics of the "offending species" (blue eye, darker bill, dark red face mask, pure white plumage) and properly identified the white bird in my ref photo (which I thought was an immature roseate), this would have meant disaster for the composition as the birds I want to depict were immature and mature roseate spoonbills.

Ahhhh.... so now I reworked the facial features and bill on the upper bird, added pink tones to the ruffled feathers to represent an immature roseate. The other bird (mature roseate) will sport a featherless head, greenish fask maks/bill and bright rosy wing patch so characterisitc of this species.

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