Brown upperparts, longish tail, and pink legs on a bird standing on the ground: we can probably start the ID ball rolling with New World sparrows (Passerellidae; until recently, they were housed in Emberizidae). Yes, we can rule out the Old World Passer species [family Passeridae (e.g., House Sparrow), which are not particularly closely related to New World sparrows].
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Our departing quiz bird may annoy some birders, as it did not stick around long enough to be identified. However, such birds can often be identified...
One aspect of identifying birds with which I see many struggle, is birds not in those ideal, field-guide postures. These non-profile views usually do not present most of the characters used most often to identify the species. However, this aspect of identifying birds may well be the single feature that best differentiates the highly experienced, highly skilled birders from the rest.
Ugh! While those of us that excel at identifying birds by shape probably consider this quiz straightforward, even easy, the rest of us may struggle. However, I look at photo quizzes as learning opportunities, and this is one doozy of an opportunity. So, let’s buckle down and look at our quiz bird carefully.
IOANA SERITAN Associate Editor, Birding magazine Welcome to Birding Online! From this page, all ABA members can access the extended online content from the April 2018 issue of Birding magazine. The complete issue, containing both print and online [...]
This month's quiz bird produced an interesting array of responses, but most were of some species of duck. The wide bill and webbed feet certainly support such an identification.
Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of birders get exasperated, even give up, on a bird that plays hide-and-seek in vegetation. They seem to want to always get that “field-guide view.” As we all know, birds often provide only partial views of themselves – it is a survival trait. Rather than get upset and turn away, keep watching it. While one may never get a full, clear view of the bird, it may well show enough of the critical pieces to be able to confidently slap an ID on the bird.
Another flying bird in the quiz photo. Surely Leukering can take better photos than that! I mean, it’s under-exposed due to the subject being backlit. That’s one that should have been deleted from the camera!
IOANA SERITAN Associate Editor, Birding magazine Welcome to Birding Online! From this page, all ABA members can access the extended online content from the February 2018 issue of Birding magazine. The complete issue, containing both print and online [...]
We don’t have lot of plumage pattern to hang an ID on in this drab bird. All that we can see of the body plumage is unrelieved grayish-brown, or brownish-gray. The lack of wing pattern also provides little in the way of clues: no wing bars, no ulnar bar, no distinct patch of pale coverts.