ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 174

Answer

If one did not notice that the toes were yellow and adorned with meat hooks, one might be excused for starting among the gulls for an ID of this month’s quiz bird, what with gray upperparts, black wing tips, and white underparts.  However, the visible foot, with its long, spindly toes, really does restrict us to diurnal raptors (Accipitriformes, Falconiformes).  The distinct black wing tips rule out all of the falcons, all of the accipiters, Osprey, most kites, all of the eagles, and both of the non-Buteo buteonine hawks (Harris’s Hawk, Common Black Hawk – the latter of which, despite Sibley’s treatment in his 2nd edition, no longer has a hyphen in its name), leaving us with White-tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, and a smattering of buteos.  We can readily eliminate Zone-tailed, Roadside, Short-tailed, Swainson’s, and White-tailed hawks from consideration, as no plumage of any sport such pale under sides to the wings with such strikingly and well-defined black wing tips.  The gray upper sides of the wings, again with those well-defined black tips, rules out Red-shouldered, Broad-winged, Red-tailed, and Ferruginous hawks, and most Rough-legged Hawks, while the lack of any suggestion of black on the belly and no obvious black bands in the tail rule out adult male, light-morph Rough-leggeds.  The scattering of small splotches of reddish color on the underparts rules out White-tailed Kite, as does the lack of a black wrist patch.

So, did you notice that we have now identified our quiz bird without reference to white uppertail coverts (known erroneously as the rump in most field guides and in birder-to-birder dogmatic ID information)?  The plumage of Northern Harriers, particularly that of adult male Northern Harriers, is chock full of useful and obvious field marks.  So, why is it that the white uppertail coverts is the only feature that many birders really know?  This is particularly unfortunate given that a fairly large array of other raptor species exhibit white uppertail coverts – or seem to -- in one plumage or another (generally juvenile plumage).  The many other field marks and, particularly, behavior are much better characters on which to hang one’s Northern Harrier ID.

I took this picture of an adult male Northern Harrier near Keyes, Cimarron County, Oklahoma, on 1 October 2017.  Another image of this individual is presented here.

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The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the October 2017 Bird Photo Quiz —Northern Harrier:

  1. Ryan Zucker - New York, NY
  2. Ian Ruppenthal - Oberlin, OH
  3. Harley Winfrey - Wheatland, MO
  4. Tom Lally - Chicago, IL
  5. David Funke - Manchester, CT
  6. Aaron Polichar - San Diego, CA
  7. Ramona Bearor - South Glens Falls, New York
  8. Andrew Theus - Savannah, GA
  9. Walker Catlett - Charlottesville, Virginia
  10. Shannon Skalos - Woodland, California
  11. Nolan Keyes - Berrien Springs, MI
  12. Tim Swain - Concord, Massachusetts
  13. Aiden Dartley - Ridgewood, NJ
  14. David Hejna - Evanston, WY
  15. Joe Hildreth - Grafton, WV
  16. Eric Hartshaw - Montoursville,Pa.
  17. Josh Southern - Holly Springs, NC
  18. Cathy Sheeter - Oradell, NJ
  19. Joseph Bourget - Brimfield, Ma
  20. Zach Schwartz-Weinstein - Albany, ny
  21. Cole Gaerber - Vancouver, BC
  22. mike vennard white - sulphur springs, montana
  23. Rhiannon Thunell - Greenwood
  24. Cullen Clark - Richmond, Utah
  25. Eduardo Soto - San Luis Az
  26. Jeff Graham - Jacksonville, Fl
  27. Jessica Burton - Riverside
  28. Claude Auchu - La Pocatiere, Quebec
  29. Amy Courtney - Juneau, AK
  30. Abbie Valine - Carlton, MN
  31. Marianne Friers - Fultonville
  32. Dustin Holschuh - Peoria, Illinois
  33. Aiden Moser - Henniker, NH
  34. Justin Bosler - Austin, TX
  35. Andy Eckerson - Dighton,MA
  36. Owen Strickland - Toronto, ON
  37. Gavin Aquila - Stewartsville, NJ
  38. doug sonerholm - Wasilla, AK
  39. Claire Miller - Fair Oaks
  40. Tara McIntire - El Cerrito, CA
  41. Mike Cameron - Wylie, Texas
  42. Hiram Herrera - Chula Vista, CA
  43. Blake Mathys - West Mansfield, OH
  44. Paul Skrade - Decorah, Iowa
  45. Jennifer Courtemanche - Bozeman, Montana
  46. Julia Helgesen - Skrautvål, Oppland, Norway
  47. Bob Proctor - Elgin, Scotland
  48. Matt Eckerson - N. Dighton
  49. Brendan Lanpher - Rochester, MN
  50. Traci Van Tine - North Branch, MI
  51. Bernard Desmeules - LaPocatiere Quebec
  52. Mike Fialkovich - Pittsburgh, PA
  53. Steven Clethro - Flintshire,U.K
  54. Isaac Denzer - Philomath, OR
  55. Ashwin S. - Beaverton, OR
  56. Jonathan Frodge - Cincinnati,Oh
  57. Mike Wasilco - Caledonia, NY
  58. Marcel Such - Gunnison, CO
  59. William Rockey - Esparto, CA
  60. Bridget Spencer - Vancouver, BC
  61. Jim Hully - Grayslake, IL
  62. Rosemarie Widmer - Allendale NJ
  63. Eli Hershberger - Stone Creek OH
  64. Kristen Johnson - Haverford, PA
  65. Elizabeth Axley - Rockville, MD
  66. Eliza Wein - New York
  67. Todd Alfes - Kalamazoo, MI
  68. Stephen Chase - Everson, WA
  69. kris tyner clearlake - oaks, california
  70. Sandra Jacobson - Gresham OR
  71. Gavin McKinnon - Calgary, Alberta
  72. Brandt Schurenberg - Cincinnati Ohio
  73. Dean Shoup - Aurora, CO
  74. Allen Brooks - Corvallis, Oregon
  75. A.Algazzali - Hercules, CA
  76. Patrick Tilley - La Mesa, CA
  77. Maili Waters - Sharon, MA
  78. Molly Zahn - Lawrence, KS
  79. Sage Church - Willis, Virginia
  80. August Davidson-Onsgard - Brooklyn, NY,
  81. Ezra Hosch - Mahtomedi, MN
  82. Brennan Obermayer - Fredericton, NB
  83. Wayne Meyer - Denison, TX
  84. Sally Michaud - Chattanooga, TN
  85. David Lugo - Jonesborough, TN
  86. Kyle Lima - Ellsworth, ME
  87. Eric Kubilus - Bryn Mawr, PA
  88. Richard Kaunroy - Philadelphia, PA
  89. Lance Runion - Little Rock, AR
  90. Josephine Kalbfleisch - Baltimore, MD
  91. Chris Swarth - Mariposa, California
  92. Ayyappan Nair - Montgomery, PA
  93. Philip Kline - Portland, OR
  94. Collin Stempien - Mobile, Alabama
  95. Pam Myers - Marysville, WA
  96. Sharon Farris - Newport, DE
  97. Austin Young - Pocatello, ID
  98. Kellen Apuna - Pearl City, HI
  99. Julie Desmeules - Quebec City, QC, Canada
  100. Matthew Fook - St. Louis
  101. Dennis Troyer - Dundee, OH
  102. Isaiah Nugent - Bellingham, WA
  103. Erica Rutherford - Oakland, CA
  104. George Cresswell - Colorado Springs, CO
  105. Greg Zupansic - Eugene, Oregon
  106. Kevin Leonard - Lawrence, KS
  107. Stephanie Stragier - Irvine, California
  108. Connor Charchuk - Edmonton
  109. Gordon Payne - London, ON
  110. Terri Everett - Big Rapids, MI
  111. Jared Parks - Church Hill, MD
  112. Wes Hatch - Roswell, GA
  113. Erick Shore - Camas, Wa
  114. David Clark - Norfolk, VA
  115. Max Rabinowitz - Anchorage
  116. David Buckley - ALBUQUERQUE
  117. Oliver Griffin - Oberlin, Ohio
  118. Jennifer Sweatt - south lake tahoe, CA
  119. Josh Kreitzer - Orem, UT
  120. Olivia Hill - Tulsa, OK
  121. Eli Miller - Millersburg, Ohio
  122. David Hollie - Pittsburg, KS
  123. Danny Tipton - Albuquerque NM
  124. Nick Mrvelj - Portland, OR
  125. Ed Harper - Carmichael, CA
  126. Jim McPhee - Placitas, NM
  127. Caroline Martin - Edmonton, AB
  128. Anya Auerbach - New York, NY
  129. Mac Huff - Joseph, OR
  130. George Forsyth - Port Williams NS Canada
  131. Scott Hampton - Cut Bank, Montana
  132. Peter Lusardi - Carlisle, PA USA
  133. Keith Bailey - Davis, Ca
  134. Richard Cissel - Carney, MD
  135. Scott Beattie - Framingham,Massachusetts
  136. Georgia Conti - Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico
  137. Chloe Walker - Murfreesboro, TN
  138. Caleb Jore - Orlando, Florida
  139. Steve Bell - Bloomington, IN
  140. Shane Brown - Granville, OH
  141. tom graham - seabrook nh
  142. Peter Lane - Québec, Canada


How Did You Compare?

As stated in the quiz rules, answers must consist simply of the Common or English name exactly as it appears in the ABA Checklist.

The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.



Peregrine Falcon
7
Hen Harrier
2
American Harrier
1
Cooper's Hawk
1
Mississippi Kite
1
Gyrfalcon
1
Red-tailed Hawk
1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Tony Leukering.