December 2020 Photo Quiz

Tony Leukering
Fairborn, OH

This month’s quiz bird has some distinctive under-tail coverts! Sure, those cinnamon-rufous feathers grab your attention, but force yourself to notice all the other interesting and/or distinctive aspects of this bird. What we can see of what looks like a short tail is mostly white, with a terminal black band. The ratio of wing tip to tail tip can be thrown off by a short tail, but that wing is still quite long, with the wing tip almost reaching the tail tip. It’s certainly no sparrow! The bird’s bill looks long and blueish, with a darker tip. And what about those wicked raptorial-looking claws on the hind toes?! This bird is all sorts of distinctive, but the view will probably give at least some of us fits as far as the bird’s identification.

What species is represented here?

Photos and answers are supplied by Tony Leukering, a field ornithologist based in southeast Colorado, with strong interests in bird migration, distribution, and identification. He has worked for five different bird observatories from coast to coast and considers himself particularly adept at taking quiz photos (that is, bad pictures!). Leukering is a member of the Colorado Bird Records Committee and had been a reviewer for eBird since its inception. He is also interested in most everything else that flies, particularly moths and odonates.