Roberts' Multimedia: Version 3 Guided Tour: Identification Module

Birds Module
Identification Module
Bird Lists Module
Birding Spots Module
Habitats Module
Sounds Module
Nests and Eggs
Program Layout
Setup Options

The identification module has been designed to aid you in reaching a decision on a bird's identification. The recommended method is as follows:
  1. Use simple observations such as [ GISS] (general impression, size and shape), [Habitat] and [ Distribution], to narrow down the possible species.
  2. Illustrations of the short-listed birds are displayed in a grid for comparison. You can now use View to select the type of image to view.
  3. Now apply [Plumage] and [ Activity] to further shortlist the species.
  4. Open a [Bird Page] to confirm your identification.
  5. 5. Use [View - Similar] birds for detailed comparison.

The shortlist can also be carried to the [Sound] and [Nest and Egg] modules for further processing.

The [View] option allows you to select the type and number of images on view.

[Filter] keeps track of your selections, and allows you to edit these. You can watch the progress of your selection in the bird list and view area, and then de-select a selection if you run out of species!

Identification Module functions

View, GISS, Plumage, Habitat, Activity, Distribution

The Identification - View function enables you to change the way the identification module page is displayed and what type of illustrations or photographs are viewed. You can view the family groups or individual species, view flight pattern illustrations and browse nest and egg photographs of the birds in the list. The function also allows you to set how many illustrations or photographs are displayed (1, 4, 9, 16 or 25).

The Identification - GISS page is designed to enable you to identify a bird based on general impression, size and shape (GISS). This identification uses seven GISS pages to help you identify a bird. The profiles pages are:

  • seabirds,
  • raptors,
  • waterbirds,
  • typical birds,
  • shorebirds,
  • ground birds and
  • night birds.

Each profile page has various silhouettes of birds that are arranged and sized proportionally. The aim is to select certain profiles that you think looked like the bird you observed in the field. You can make multiple selections on each profile page and each time you select a profile, birds are added to the list that correspond to the selection you made. This is an additive process, and therefore does not eliminate birds that may have been the one you observed. You can also deselect profiles and clear the profile page of any selection. Once you have made your selections, you click [Accept] and go to the Identification view page where you can browse the shortlist of birds.

GISS page

The GISS page is the first identification page of the Identification module. Here you select one of the GISS pages to start the identification process.

GISS pages
There are seven profile pages:

  • Seabirds - this page shows birds that occur in a marine and marine shoreline habitat (gannets, gulls, terns, cormorants, penguins, albatrosses, petrels, stormpetrels etc).
  • Raptors - this page shows all the birds of prey (goshawks, sparrowhawks, kites, hawks, falcons, kestrels, harriers, chanting goshawks, buzzards, eagles and vultures).
  • Waterbirds - this page shows birds that occur in an inland water habitat such as a dam, wetland and river (gulls, terns, rails, crakes, bitterns, gallinules, jacanas, pelicans, cormorants, ducks, geese etc).
  • Typical Birds - this page shows the typical bird profiles, that is birds with distinctive shapes (hornbills, kingfishers, hoopoes, rollers, woodpeckers, parrots, starlings, doves, crows, louries, coucals, cuckoos, barbets, batises, finches, waxbills, sunbirds, thrushes etc).
  • Shorebirds - this page shows the birds that occur in along the shoreline of habitats, such as estuaries, wetlands, dams, rivers and marine (waders - sandpipers, stints, dikkops, oystercatchers, plovers, herons, night herons, egrets, flamingos, storks, ibis, spoonbill etc).
  • Ground Birds - this page shows birds terrestrial dwelling birds (cranes, storks, bustards, korhaans, ibis, francolins, plovers, quails, flufftails, sandgrouse, doves, pratincoles etc).
  • Night Birds - this page shows the nocturnal birds (owls, nightjars, plovers, dikkops, coursers, quails, flufftails etc).

Typical Operation

  • Identify a bird using profiles
    The aim is to identify a bird that you saw in the field by using the profile pages. The selections you make on the profile pages give you a shortlist of possible birds, which you can then browse by selecting the bird in the list on the left.

The Plumage function enables you to make selection based on the plumage of a bird that your observed in the field. The function has the following options which can be selected to aid you in the identification process: plumage, underparts, throat, collar, breast, flanks, upperparts, wings, rump, undertail, tail, head, eyes, bill and legs. Each of these has examples that can be selected to narrow down the number of birds in the list.

The Identification - Habitat function enables you to select a habitat to use as a filter in the identification process or to browse through the birds that occur in the particular habitat. You are able to select multiple habitats. The Habitats that you can select are as follows: Forest, Woodland, Kalahari, Grassland, Karoo, Desert, Fynbos, Mountains, Rocks Cliffs, Towns, Farmland, Inland Water, Marine Pelagic and Marine Shoreline. There is also an option to link to the habitat map in the Habitat module.

The Identification - Activity function enables you to select various activity criteria to use as a filter in the identification process. The criteria are as follows:

  • Flight patterns,
  • Tail patterns,
  • Characteristic movements and/or postures,
  • Swimming patterns,
  • Wading patterns and
  • Other features.





The Identification - Distribution function links directly to the SA Map in the Bird List module. Here you can select the region or area you were in when you observed the bird you are now trying to identify. The selection can be done in the following ways:

  1. Zoom into the appropriate area. Use the Map Marker tool to draw the area on the SA Map, then select [GO] and a list will be created for the area.
  2. Zoom into the appropriate area. Use the QDS tool to highlight the area you want to select and click on the map. A list for that QDS will appear in the list panel on the left.
  3. Zoom into the appropriate area. Locate the birding spot you were at when you observed the bird and use the Bird Spots tool to select the spot (click on the red dot). A filtered list will appear in the list panel on the left.

Once you have the filtered list on the left, you can click [Return List] on the menu bar and it will link back to the Identification module with the filtered list. Now you can browse the birds in the list or select another filter to narrow down the list further.

For more detail, consult Bird Lists: SA Map Module

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