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Battling Swainson's Sparrows

Battling Swainson's Sparrows
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-08-09
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): TN Classics, CeltickRanger's favorite Bird photos -5-, Animals' Behavior, part one [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-09-01 6:26
Viewed: 5936
Points: 94
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
While we were waiting on a plane at the airport of Lalibela, this two were fighting for a long time. We waited from 8 o’clock in the morning till 7 o’clock in the evening before we decided to go back to the hotel. No plane that day. So I had enough time to make several photos of these hotheads. This is my second photo of them.

These are Swainson’s Sparrows, passer swainsonii, ENDEMIC to the highlands of Ethiopia, Eritrea and N. Somalia.

This Sparrow is 14 – 16 cm. Darker than Northern Grey-headed Sparrow, especially on head and throat; pale chestnut tail and rump contrast more strongly with back. Smaller and more compact than Parrot-billed Sparrow and much smaller bill. Range does not overlap with the former Sparrows and Swahili Sparrow.
Habitat: Dry wooded grasslands, farmlands and villages; the common Sparrow in Ethiopian towns.
Status: Common to abundant in some areas.
Voice: Typical chips, cheroops and chissiks.

(Source: ‘Birds of Africa, South of the Sahara’, by I Sinclair and P. Ryan)

nglen, siggi, goatman04, Argus, horias, nazirbadar, maurydv, nasokoun, roges, cirano, Dis. Ac., zulfu, boreocypriensis, anemone, xTauruSx, Noisette, gondox, cicindela, jaycee, CeltickRanger, Ozgur70, avallaunius, cypturk, bahadir, anel, marhowie, ellis49, peter_stoeckl, rousettus, SelenE, Juyona, meyerd, Ingrid1 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-09-01 6:33]

Hi Peter. What an unusual picture. I like the way the top one has its claws around the others beak. They look like young boys having a fight . Well seen and taken ,with good detail and colours.Well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-09-01 6:43]

Hello Peter.
Fantastic scene and so fantastic timing. Sharp with good clarity. Nice composition and POV. Excellent lighting and details of the birds.Best regards Siggi

Hello Peter,

An interesting capture with lots of action & details. Great naturel colors & sharpness.

Well done & TFS.



Hi Peter,

Whooo! a pair of bratty boys! excellent capture, with great light and a composition that should result a real challenge!. Excellent result, very good worked!



Very nice capture, Peter! Excellent details, color and framing; but even moreso the composition. We don't get to see birds in battle very often captured on film.


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-09-01 7:57]

Hello Peter,
This is a superb capture!
I like the way the one Swainson's Sparrow has grasped the beak of its opponent while they are fighting.
Taken from a great POV with excellent sharpness and set in fine composition.
Thanks and all the best,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-09-01 8:04]

Hi Peter,this is a very interesting moment to take,you wasn't lucky whit the airplanes but lucky whit the pair of sparrows,excellent sharpness and colors,very excellent work,have a nice day,Luciano

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2009-09-01 8:20]

What a great fight!!!
Perfect shot of this scene, good sharpnes, natural colors.

Hello Peter,
According to me this is the picture of the day.
Timing is excellent but the sharpness is also excellent.
great moment captured.
Rare picture.

Hello Peter,
a fantastic and interesting capture of this two Sparrows fighting, very good sharpness and perfect exposure with very beautiful colour tones, a nice dynamic composition of this action.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2009-09-01 8:39]

Very interesting and fine behavioral capture of nature, fine action image. tfs.

hello Peter
really a separate moment, I am glad that you are ready for this,excellent moment-scene-shot and photo

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2009-09-01 9:04]

Hi Peter,
Interessant dat een beeld dat we vandaag voorstellen.
Zeer succesvolle deze prestatie!
Een leuke dag,

  • Great 
  • joska Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 806 W: 0 N: 4092] (22535)
  • [2009-09-01 9:10]

Very interesting moment, very good colors and details, congratulations!

  • Great 
  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2009-09-01 9:56]

Slav Peter,
What an unusual capture with excellent timing.Very lovely composition.TFS.

Hallo Peter,

mooi die vechtende vogels.
Veel detailering met prachtige kleuren.
Jammer dat de ondergrond van teer is.


What a great action shot! Something a little different, and a wonderful capture.

hallo Peter
super shot van deze vechtende vogels
goed van scherpte en erg goed licht
mooi zo als de één de snavel dicht houd van de ander
groetjes lou

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2009-09-01 12:04]

Hello Peter, great shot of these cute birds while fighting.
TFS and R's,

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2009-09-01 12:36]

Hello Peter
Excellent capture with great action and very sharp details

Hi Peter, a great timely, perfect and amusing capture of these lovely fighters:)
TFS and cheers,


Hi Peter, very beautiful shot:)
Thanks for sharing,

Hello Peter, great timely shot. Perfect one, as usual.
TFS and regards,

Hello Peter
a very great scene, i have never seen two fighting sparrows, the timing is perfect
and all with superb details
Bravo for this wonderful shot
Have a goog night

  • Great 
  • gondox Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 356 W: 65 N: 342] (1585)
  • [2009-09-01 15:37]

Hi Peter!

Wonderful action moment captured and done in perfect quality! You were really lucky to see that, well, if we forget about the long waiting you had to do.. From here it seems much worth! TFS!

Best regards,

Hello Peter! This is really "mortal combat"!!! These two individuals are true fighters! I have never seen such interaction among sparrows.
Great documentary photo and thank you for that!

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2009-09-01 16:45]

Hi Peter,

An amazing shot of these Swainson's Sparrows in an unlikely pose. I love how the one is using his claw to keep her bleak closed. You captured the moment perfectly with great colors and details. I doubt that even this great shot made up for the long plane delay.


hello Peter

WOW ! this is a National Geographic quality and style of pic,
superb timing from you to shoot them in photo in their fight,
with a superb focus great sharpness and details, TFS


I dont know what can be say.

interesting scene
well captured

Hello Peter, a perfect and funny catch of these cute fighting birds. Wonderful shot. Thanks for sharing.
Kind regards,

Ciao Peter. Magnificent lighting and perfct detailed moved situation! Stunning details and good diagonal compo.


  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-09-02 8:33]

Hi Peter,
a nice shot of the bird at the right moment. Very sharp and you work really fast here. Very good composition and excellent skills. There is no motion blur at all.
What a pleasant shot to share.


Ciao Peter, fantastic action shoot, great capture of amazing scene, good natural colors, fine details and excellent sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

Hello Peter, great action shot of these fighting birds. Nice composition and framing!
TFS and regards,

  • Great 
  • pilonm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 588 W: 90 N: 975] (3321)
  • [2009-09-02 13:48]

Hello Peter,

Wow! I'm very impressed by this behavioral picture!!!

1/320s was enough to freeze the belligerents. I like the way the bird get the other one in a hold by the beak! Who won???

Great action picture and TFS!


  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-09-03 4:27]

Hello Peter,
Most interesting to see these two quarelling sparrows. Amazing to see how clever the stronger is! I never have seen this behaviour here. Original posting!
Thanks and kind regards

Very cool Peter!
Looks like a wrestling match..But we'll have to take some points away for the claw-on-the-beak infraction ;-}}
Have a great weekend.

  • ellis49 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3434 W: 331 N: 505] (2254)
  • [2009-09-04 5:22]

Hi Peter,
I hope you are doing well
a nice shot of a big fight between two heavy champ's :-)
Reminds me about my old picture
You did well here to catch a very nice moment of the fighting males.
The picture is sharp with good details and the comp is also fine.
Well done, my friend.

Hello Peter,
dramatic document of African sparrows in fighting action, perfectly captured with excellent details in quintessentially reduced composition. Phantastic image. Thank you! With best regards,

  • Great 
  • briGG Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 195 W: 2 N: 344] (1823)
  • [2009-09-04 12:21]

Hello Peter.

Caught live! Good shot of this moment! Good work!



Hello Peter,
wonderful action shot. bravo! everything perfect from sharp focus and POV to timing and composition. this is unusal capture. congratulations.
thanks for sharing it with good informative notes as always
have a nice week

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2009-09-10 7:19]

Hi Peter,
Very good timing, I like the pose you captured a lot. Well done and TFS
All the best,

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2009-09-14 10:53]

realmente original,
simpática escena y sorprendente momento.
magnífica captura,
saludos amigo Peter.

Hi Peter,
a very rare shot of a beak-and-claw-fight indeed, Peter. There are so many interesting details to see. The pace must have been very fast, and you had to act quickly.
Best regards

Hi Peter,

I've never seen a small birds fight with so many details. Brilliant shot. Funny to see one just grabbed the bill of the other.

hi Peter,
Very nice capture :)
You are right I have taken my photo looks like a turkey.

  • Great 
  • waylim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 296 W: 8 N: 489] (1765)
  • [2012-04-12 12:10]


this is cute, first it scares me, I thought it is a road killed. Anyway, it nice to see they are just having a good time play, fighting or whatever they are doing.

Very nice moment.


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