ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 108


Bird Photo
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The picture of our hiding quiz bird was partly intended as a quiz of nomenclature, in addition to the usual identification aspects. Those that submitted the correct species are probably now jumping up and down in celebration (well, they may be a bit less enthusiastic than that), because they may now know that they got the quiz right. Yes, our quiz species has seen an inordinate number of name changes in my 35 years of birding, most (if not all) due to considerations and reconsiderations as to its taxonomic status relative to, well, relatives in central Mexico.

Our quiz bird has one particularly striking feature and another that’s a bit different. The “bit-different” feature being the particular shade of brown of what we can see of the upperparts: a bit of the left wing and associated scapulars. Note on that wing, that the primaries have white barring on them, a feature typical of woodpeckers, but not of many other brown-backed bird species in the ABA Area. The “striking” feature is the brown spotting on the underparts that extends the length of those underparts. While there are ABA-Area species with streaking that extensive or, in the case of Dusky Thrush, chevrons that extensive, none sport spotting, particularly brown spotting, that extensive.

The quiz species has been known as Brown-backed Woodpecker and Strickland’s Woodpecker, as well as the current name of Arizona Woodpecker, with fairly quick changes from Arizona to Strickland’s and back to Arizona in the last decades of the previous millennium. Part of the history of inconsistency in nomenclature has been due to changing concepts of how closely related this form is to a central-Mexican form known as Strickland’s Woodpecker. When lumped, they are known as Strickland’s; when split, as Arizona.

Of course, I have something of a minor bone to pick with the current name. Though the species is found in the ABA Area just about only in Arizona (yes, there is a bit of spillover into southwestern-most New Mexico), the species is, in no way, endemic – or even near-endemic – to Arizona. Arizona can claim not even 200 miles of its roughly 1100 latitudinal miles of range. In the ABA Area, it is present in, barely, two states; in Mexico, it is a denizen of seven. Granted, that’s not nearly as egregious a difference as represented by other species, such as Louisiana Waterthrush and, particularly, Cape May Warbler (where the warbler in question is not at all common). Fortunately, despite the tendency to ethnocentricity of the British and their various progeny scattered around the globe (to which I certainly claim membership!), American Bittern was not named for the locality at which it was first discovered. Can you imagine calling Botaurus lentiginosus the Piddletown Bittern, after the location in Dorset, England? (As a corollary, what is the only widespread, breeding Old World species to have been named to science from discovery in the New World?)

I took this picture of an Arizona Woodpecker in Madera Canyon, AZ, in August 2006. Another picture of the same bird was provided as the quiz subject in the partly concurrent photo quiz on the Colorado Field Ornithologists’ website (www.cfobirds.org).


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the March Bird Photo Quiz—Arizona Woodpecker:

    1. Josh Southern - Raleigh, NC
    2. Nick L. - Silver Spring, MD
    3. Tom Benson - San Bernardino, CA
    4. Zachary Holderby - Brooksville, ME
    5. Ethan Kistler - Oak Harbor, Ohio
    6. Jilly Rodriguez - Mendez Oaxaca,Mexico
    7. Eric Antonio - Martinez Oaxaca,Mexico
    8. Peter Lane - Québec City, Canada
    9. Eric Hughes - Pottstown, PA
    10. Ryan O'Donnell - Logan, Utah
    11. Sarah T . - Ann Arbor, MI
    12. Eric Plage - Saint Petersburg, Florida
    13. Jason Hoeksema - Oxford, MS
    14. Christian Gras - BELMONT MA
    15. Claude Auchu - La Pocatiere, Quebec
    16. Marcelo Brongo - Sant Cugat del Valles, Spain
    17. John Brett - Toronto, ON
    18. Philip Kline - Tucson, AZ
    19. Robert Weissler - Hereford, Arizona
    20. Elaine MacPherson - Sierra Madre, CA
    21. beau schaefer - round lake beach, IL
    22. Wes Hatch - Chagrin Falls, OH
    23. Jimmy Warren - Philadelphia, PA
    24. Bob Proctor - Elgin, Scotland
    25. Sebastien Rioux - Quebec city, Quebec
    26. Aspen Ellis - Ann Arbor, MI
    27. Gary Woods - Fresno,CA
    28. Marie McGee - Clinton Township, MI
    29. Anya Auerbach - New York, NY
    30. Rosemarie Widmer - Allendale NJ
    31. Patty McKelvey - Sheffield Village, Ohio; USA
    32. John Farley jr - Woodland,CA
    33. Sam Manning - Omaha, NE
    34. Tom Howe - Alcoa, TN
    35. Claire Miller - Fair Oaks, CA
    36. Brian E. Small - Los Angeles, CA
    37. Jim Mountjoy - Galesburg, IL
    38. Robert Lockett - Portland, Oregon
    39. Karl Erich Mayer - Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
    40. Nick Minor - Libertyville, Illinois
    41. Mike Wasilco - Caledonia, NY
    42. Wayne Meyer - Denison, TX
    43. Gary Koehn - Colorado Springs, Colorado
    44. Aaron Bilyeu - Placerville, CA
    45. Laure Neish - Penticton, BC Canada
    46. pamela corwin - Charleston, SC
    47. Josh LaCelle - Camden, NY
    48. Brad Weinert - La Mesa, CA
    49. Samuel Denault - Montréal, Quebec
    50. Olivier Barden - Quebec City, Qc
    51. Monica Nugent - New Westminster, BC
    52. Ali Sheehey - Weldon, CA
    53. Mike Fialkovich - Pittsburgh, PA
    54. Michael Lester - Tucson, AZ
    55. Margaret Smith - Boulder, CO
    56. Nick Newberry - Oakton, VA
    57. David Rankin - Hilo, HI
    58. Rick Poulin - Ottawa, Ontario
    59. Lucie Bruce - Houston, TX
    60. Wes Serafin - Orland Pk,Il 60462
    61. Greg Park - Wheeling, WV
    62. Steve Hampton - Davis, CA
    63. Steve Hampton - Davis, CA
    64. Vivek Govind Kumar - Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    65. Michael S. Levy - Centereach, N.Y.
    66. David Bell - Guelph, ON
    67. Ann Hancock - East Lansing, MI
    68. Thomas Hopkins - Saint Petersburg, FL
    69. Enric Fernandez - Anchorage, Alaska
    70. Thomas Hall - Livermore, CO
    71. Graham Etherington - Norwich, United Kingdom
    72. Ian Bixby, - Ok
    73. Kevin Michael Hill - SHORELINE, WA
    74. logan kahle - San Francisco, CA
    75. Christine Amaral - North Scituate
    76. James Mckay - Mesa, AZ
    77. Pam Myers - Santa Cruz, CA
    78. Andy Deegan - New London, NH
    79. Jim Kopitzke - Mesa, AZ
    80. Larry Kline - Fredericksburg, VA
    81. Michael Kline - Fredericksburg Va.
    82. Robert Packard - Riverside, CA
    83. Sophie Cauchon - La Prairie, Canada
    84. Andre Pelletier - La Prairie Canada
    85. Austin Young - Filer, ID
    86. David Hollie - Ringgold, GA
    87. Ben Gou - Bloomington, Illinois
    88. Chris Blazo - Chambersburg,PA
    89. Ben Peters - Massachusetts
    90. Michael Cannon - Mount Prospect, IL
    91. Ross Schaefer - Atascadero, CA
    92. Ceklestyn Brozek - Albuquerque, NM
    93. Ed Harper - Carmichael, CA
    94. Thomas Hall - Livermore, CO
    95. Terri Everett - Big Rapids, MI
    96. Chris Warren - Austin, TX
    97. George F. Cresswell - Colorado Springs, CO
    98. Yousif - Calgary, AB
    99. Alain Pataud - Paris, France
    100. Alvan Buckley - St. John's, Newfoundland
    101. Toby J. Zastrow - Riverdale, MD
    102. Mary Zastrow - Riverdale, MD
    103. Sarah J. Zastrow - Riverdale, MD
    104. Ali Iyoob - Raleigh, NC
    105. Corey Plank - Portland, OR
    106. Elaine Nakash - Bowie, MD
    107. Dave Slager - Columbus, Ohio
    108. Chris Sukha - Field, Ontario
    109. Lance Verderame - Livingston Manor, New York
    110. Dean Nicholson - Cranbrook, B.C.
    111. Benjamin Shamgochian - East Providence
    112. Vince Cavalieri - DeWitt, MI
    113. Barb Robertson - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    114. Daniel Walker - Carrizo Springs, Texas
    115. Ben Thompson - San Juan Bautista, California
    116. Tanya Seebacher - Kelowna, BC
    117. Phil Kemp - Dolores, CO
    118. josh parks - Fairbanks, AK
    119. Greg Hart - Mississauga, ON
    120. Spencer Hardy - Norwich, VT
    121. Blake Mathys - West Mansfield, OH
    122. Linda Swanson - San Francisco, CA
    123. Matthew Schneider - Silverton, Oregon
    124. Brad Hammond - West Palm Beach Florida
    125. Margaret Martin - Roseville, CA
    126. Grant McCreary - Cumming, GA
    127. Alex Burdo - Fairfield, CT
    128. Pullen Watkins - Madison, MS
    129. Kenneth Ransom - River Ridge, LA
    130. Daroczi J. Szilard - Tg.-Mures, Romania
    131. Mary Russell - Tumwater, WA

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.

Northern Flicker
Guilded Flicker
Wood Thrush
Strickland's Woodpecker
Swainson's Thrush
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker
Hermit Thrush
Downy Woodpecker
Cassin's Finch
Broad-winged Hawk


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