October 2020 Photo Quiz

Tony Leukering
Fairborn, OH

Click to enlarge.

I took this photo in August and I am still waiting for this bird to turn its head. A turning of the head would certainly give us more with which to work to nail down an identification. However, features that I glean from the photo that might be important in discerning the bird’s ID include the large head with gray crown and nape, the black wings with at least a bit of white on them, the vaguely barred chest and even-more-vaguely barred flanks, the passerine foot structure, and the longish tail that seems to have quite a bit of white on it.

The various plumage features noted above rule out a lot of options. It’s certainly not a flycatcher, vireo, corvid, swallow, chickadee or titmouse, nuthatch, creeper, gnatcatcher, warbler of any sort, pipit, longspur, chat, waxwing, finch, blackbird, tanager/grosbeak/bunting/cardinal, or seedeater. Ergo, most of the ABA-Area passerines are eliminated from consideration.

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.