ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 101


Bird Photo
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Ah, a reasonably well-lit subject filling a large part of the frame and not a) hiding its head, b) facing away from us, or c) flying away. This one should be easy! The plain-vanilla bill (relatively not long, short, thick, thin, nor curved), extensive and distinct yellow on the underparts, some dark side streaking overlying yellow sides, and at least one wing bar should plunk us firmly in the Parulidae. Looking at the bit of tail that we can see hiding among the pine needles, we note that the bird also sports tail spots (or, spot) and that, in combination with the above, should allow us to rule out all but the Dendroica, er… Setophaga warblers (recall the recent subsumption – I know it’s not a word, but I like it – of the members of Dendroica into the formerly monotypic genus Setophaga).

Once among that newly-expanded genus, we can immediately eliminate the type species, American Redstart, on any of a number of grounds. In fact, with the features noted above, our options lie with a limited solution set (in no particular order): Magnolia, Cape May, Cerulean, Blackburnian, Townsend’s, Kirtland’s, Prairie, Palm, Pine, and Blackpoll warblers. Canada Warbler is eliminated on the strength of the quiz bird’s tail spot. The broken eye ring and lack of much extension of the superciliary behind the eye leaves us only Cape May, Kirtland’s, Prairie, and Pine. The whiteness and thickness of the wing bar that we can see rules out Prairie, the strong supraloral line does the same for Kirtland’s, and the lack of throat streaking eliminates Cape May from consideration. The bill also looks a bit too hefty for the fine-billed Cape May and Prairie warblers and the side streaking of Kirtland’s Warbler typically appears as lines of elongated spots, rather than the distinct streaks of the quiz bird.

I took this picture of an immature male Pine Warbler at the site of the Avalon Seawatch, Cape May Co., NJ, on 7 October 2008.


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the August Bird Photo Quiz—Pine Warbler:

  1. Greg Neise, Berwyn, IL
  2. Sarah Toner, Ann Arbor, MI
  3. Jacob Barkett, Woodbridge, VA
  4. Justin Bosler, Houma, Louisiana
  5. Dan Gertiser, Commerce Twp MI
  6. Michael Kline, Fredericksburg Va.
  7. Robin Agombar, Napanee
  8. Barb Duncan, Jefferson City, MO
  9. Eric Antonio Martinez, Oaxaca,Mexico
  10. Eric Howe, Eagle, WI
  11. David C. Smith, Owings Mills, MD
  12. William Rockey, Esparto, CA
  13. Gary Bloomfield, Arcata, CA
  14. Marcelo Brongo, Sant Cugat del Valles, Spain
  15. Robert Packard, RIverside, CA
  16. Urs Geiser, Woodridge, IL
  17. Wes Serafin, Orland Pk,Il 60462
  18. Thomas Hall, Livermore, CO
  19. Andrew Guttenberg, Bozeman, MT
  20. logan kahle, San Francisco, CA
  21. David Hollie, Ringgold, GA
  22. Josh Southern, Raleigh, NC
  23. Robert Meehan, Durham, NC
  24. Patty McKelvey, Sheffield Village, Ohio
  25. Eric Plage, St. Petersburg, FL
  26. Andre Moncrieff, Berrien Springs, MI
  27. Annie Meyer, Tacoma, WA
  28. Monica Nugent, New Westminster, BC
  29. Michael Lester, Tucson, AZ
  30. Anya Auerbach, New York, NY
  31. John Branchflower, Portland, OR
  32. Richard Garrigues, San Antonio de Belén, Costa Rica
  33. Jason McGuire, London, ON
  34. Claude Auchu, La Pocatiere, Quebec
  35. John R., Pasadena, CA
  36. Ben Newton, Beloit, WI
  37. Avery Bartels, Nelson, BC, Canada
  38. Chris Blazo, Chambersburg,Pennsylvania
  39. Josh Parks, Fairbanks, AK
  40. Dan, mangilao, guam
  41. Josh Obrecht, Ames, IA
  42. Alexandre Anctil, Rimouski, Qc
  43. John Shamgochian, East Providence, RI
  44. Olivier Barden, Quebec City, Qc
  45. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  46. Larry Kline, Fredericksburg, VA
  47. Yousif Attia, Calgary, AB
  48. Judith Henderson, Denver, CO
  49. Eric Pineiro, Titusville, FL
  50. Greg Schrott, Avon Park, FL
  51. Alex Watson, Alexandria, MN
  52. Nancy Hetrick, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  53. JoAnne Russo, Saxtons River, VT
  54. John Hammond, Durham, NC
  55. Philip Kline, Tucson, AZ
  56. Larry Therrien , Belchertown, MA
  57. Ross Schaefer, Atascadero, CA
  58. Steve Arlow, Rochford, Essex, UK
  59. Charlotte, Alberta Canada
  60. Linda Fink, Grand Ronde, OR
  61. Karl Erich Mayer, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  62. Vince Cavalieri, DeWitt, MI
  63. Gary Koehn, Colorado Sprngs, Colorado
  64. Michael Cannon, Mount Prospect, IL
  65. George Cresswell, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  66. Mike McCloy, Cullowhee, NC
  67. Ann Gibson , Winfield, BC
  68. Barb Robertson, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  69. Wayne Meyer, Denison, TX
  70. Spencer Hardy, Norwich, VT
  71. Mike Wasilco, Caledonia, NY
  72. Casey Setash, Blacksburg, VA
  73. Linda Swanson, San Francisco, CA
  74. Harold Rabinowitz, East Palo Alto, CA
  75. Terri Everett, Big Rapids, MI
  76. Laure Neish, Penticton, BC Canada
  77. Darrel Wilder, Johnson City, TN
  78. Jim Mountjoy, Galesburg, IL
  79. Gabriel Cohen-Glinick, Providence, RI
  80. Gary Woods, Fresno, CA
  81. Ron Pozzi, Granite Bay, CA
  82. Diane Porter, Fairfield, IA
  83. Jim Flynn, Seattle, WA
  84. Miriam Rognlie, Bozeman, MT
  85. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, Oregon
  86. Wes Hatch, Chagrin Falls, OH
  87. Joel Mundall, Loma Linda, CA
  88. Georgia Conti, Patzcuaro Michoacan, Mexico

How Did You Compare?

As stated in the quiz rules, answers must consist simply of the Common or English name exactly as it appears in the ABA Checklist.

The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.

Pine Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Kirtland's Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Magnolia Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow Warbler


The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Tony Leukering.