June 2018 Photo Quiz



Click photo to enlarge.

Know The Common Birds Cold

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. That is because these birders have seen it before and even if the field-guide-indicated ID features are not visible, they can interpolate from the features that are visible, features that virtually always include some shape aspects. Knowing the common birds cold is, perhaps, the most-harped-on aspect in the photo quizzes that I’ve run (ABA and CFO) and in much of my other writing on bird ID.

From comparison with the perch and other branches in the quiz photo, we can determine that this month’s quiz bird is sizable. Obviously, the plumage that we can see is quite dark and that darkness is nearly unrelieved. We can also see part of the bird’s right foot, and what we can see of that tarsus (the length of foot “above” the toes) is pale and unfeathered.

Please submit the correct Common or English name exactly as it appears in the ABA Checklist.

What species is this?

Photos and answers are supplied by Tony Leukering, a freelance ornithologist based in the Tampa Bay area, with strong interests in bird migration, distribution, and identification. He has worked for four 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 reviews Colorado and Wyoming eBird data. He is also interested in most everything else that flies, particularly moths and odonates.