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This month’s quiz bird is quite hidden and arriving at the correct answer required assessing the various bits and pieces of color visible through the juniper vegetation accurately. There is but a single bit of bright, non-earth-tone color here, a strip of yellow in the bottom-right corner of the picture. Because we can see sky below that, we can safely assume that, if part of the quiz bird, it must be some distal part. With that assumption, unless the wings are open or the bird is upside down, the yellow must be on the tail tip. We can further back that determination with the fact that no ABA-area bird species has such a bright and strongly-contrasting yellow tip to the wing.
Because only two ABA-area bird species sport such a distinct yellow tail tip, our eyes ought to travel up the bird’s body to look for clues to differentiate the two waxwing species, and there are two such clues. The first and largest is the extensive gray of the underparts and the second is obtained by close study of the area just above that yellow tail tip. In the cutout of the quiz picture provided below, the red arrow points to the tip of the undertail coverts, which are relatively and absolutely longer in Bohemian Waxwing than in Cedar Waxwing; these coverts extend nearly to the yellow tail tip.
The color of these coverts is also a superb clue to the identify of the Bohemian Waxwing in this picture that I took in Kit Carson Co., CO, on 5 November 2004.
The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the March Bird Photo Quiz—Bohemian Waxwing:
The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.
The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Tony Leukering.