March 2021 Photo Quiz

Tony Leukering
Fairborn, OH

Raise your hands. Who considers this an ugly photo quiz?

I am not talking, er, writing about the quality of the photo, which, admittedly, leaves a lot to be desired. I am writing about what is shown of the bird.

I have little doubt that at least some hands are in the air. However, as this venue has pointed out numerous times, birds do not always show us all the interesting or pretty parts or the bits that most birders consider ID-relevant.

We are looking at the top side of what appears to be a drab bird, the upperparts being nearly unrelieved brownish-gray. However, there are some interesting bits, including what might be the suggestion of a tail spot, although the tail may have to be disarranged for such to show on what appears to be the tail’s edge (tail spots are on the inner webs of rectrices). Whether that is a tail spot or not, despite the odd angle, the facial pattern looks like it is constructed from what might be black lateral crown stripes and bright white supercilia. More nebulous might be black or blackish eyelines, or an eyeline, as only the right one seems to be present if it is an eyeline or the angle is causing us not to see the left-side eyeline (if it is even present). The bird’s right leg is shown well, and that might be useful. Finally, notice that bill!

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.