May 2018 Photo Quiz


Click photo to enlarge.

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.

The situation (shallow water) and the bird’s fairly long legs have probably suggested a start among the shorebirds in search of an answer. I am not at all opposed to that. If we assume correctly that the bird is a shorebird, given that we can see one of the feet quite well, we can quickly check to see if our quiz bird is – or is not – a Sanderling. Look at the trailing foot and notice that the bird has a hind toe – the short one elevated up the leg a bit from the rest of the toes (all the others attach at roughly the same place). We now know that our quiz bird is NOT a Sanderling, as that species is one of very few shorebird species with only three toes per foot. [As an aside, are there others? I’ve never solved that one.]

Okay, that’s one down, leaving only 91 more shorebird species on the ABA checklist, thus candidates for the quiz! Yikes!

I’ll give everyone another few clues here, to reduce the number of possibilities. The quiz bird is not a member of either of the families Burhinidae or Glareolidae (one species each). Finally, the species is not an ABA rarity. That is, the ABA code is either 1 or 2. If that does not make sense to you, then check the ABA checklist.

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.