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This month’s bird appears to be all black, except for a large patch of white on the upper wings. Granted, we cannot see much of the underparts, nor the underside of the wings. However, the left side is in the light and looks quite black, ruling out quite a few options. The bright reddish feet can certainly also help to winnow the possibilities. So, the combo of black plumage, white in the wing, and reddish feet leaves us only a few options. Because the feet rule out Muscovy Duck and the black upperparts rule out Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, we are left with White-winged Scoter and the two ABA-area species of guillemot. The white in the wing is on the coverts, not the remiges, so the last duck option goes bye-bye and we’re left with quite a difficult ID quandary.
If we could just see the underside of the wings, the ID would be straightforward, because Pigeon Guillemot has dark wing linings, while Black Guillemot has white wing linings. Yup, straightforward. C’est la vie. We will have to go with the wing patch to ID our quiz bird. Looking carefully , we should be able to note that a thin, black bar extends from the outer part of both wing patches along either the greater or median coverts (it’s not really possible to determine which from this photo) and that thiese bars do not extend all the way across the white patches.
I took this picture of a Pigeon Guillemot off San Miguel Island, Santa Barbara Co., CA, on 1 March 2010.
The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the February Bird Photo Quiz—Pigeon Guillemot:
The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.
The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Tony Leukering.