January 2024 Photo Quiz

Tony Leukering
Dodge City, KS
greatgrayowl@aol.com

Various aspects of the month’s quiz bird’s plumage and some structure features rule out grebes, loons, cormorants, and all other “swimmy things” other than ducks. Once among ducks, distinguishing between dabbling ducks and diving ducks is mostly easy and straightforward. As a rule, most body feather groups of female and female-type plumages in dabbling ducks in the ABA Area host feathers with notable and noticeable internal markings, whereas those of diving ducks do not. Yes, eiders are different, as is Masked Duck, but if any or, particularly, many of the body feathers on an unidentified duck have internal markings, starting with dabblers is a good strategy to work to a species identification. If not, start with diving ducks.

Photos and answers are supplied by Tony Leukering, a field ornithologist based in southeast Dodge City, KS, 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.