November 2023 Photo Quiz

Tony Leukering
Dodge City, KS
greatgrayowl@aol.com

Don’t blame me! I didn’t do it! Blame the bird for running out of the frame! Besides, while the bill might have helped, it might not have. Second besides, there are only four reasonable options for the bird’s identification, so you’re just going to have to do it without the bill.

While some quiz takers may not immediately slot this month’s quiz bird into the correct family, most experienced ABA-Area birders will have pegged this for a rail and they would be right. From various plumage features, it is quite easy to eliminate all ABA-Area rails other than those in the rail family’s (Rallidae) type genus, Rallus. Those are the four that are gray, brown, or cinnamon above and have more-or-less obvious dark-and-light barring on the flanks and lower sides that contrasts with the coloration of the upper sides.

Please, before you rush to provide an off-the-cuff answer, consider known variation in the genus.

What species is represented here?

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.