ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 115


We’ve got a primarily white bird with black wingtips over what must be the ocean or another very large body of water, to have such rough seas. With such birds, we may be tempted to start the ID process with gulls, the regular, everyday white bird with black wingtips; at least for most birders in the ABA area. However, closer scrutiny of either wingtip should point out that only the two outermost primaries are significantly black, and that, apparently, only on the outer webs. The various white-winged gulls, if they were to show such dark coloration on the outer primaries, should show such on more primaries. We can also see a black diagonal bar on the inner wing, and if our quiz bird is a gull, that character will seriously reduce the possibilities. In fact, there are no gull species that show the combo of restricted black in the outer primaries and a diagonal black bar on the upper wing, so we will have to look further afield for a solution. Terns don’t work for this month’s quiz solution, not with that black bar on the upper wing. What other group of white waterbirds are even remotely similar. Well, there is one, the tropicbirds.
Once we get to tropicbirds, that diagonal black bar that has been causing us so many problems with gulls and terns, works to our advantage, as there is only one ABA-area species sporting that character.

I took this picture of an adult White-tailed Tropicbird at Sunset Beach, Cape May Point, Cape May Co., NJ, on 28 August 2011 after the passage of Hurricane Irene and represents only one of the THREE seen that day from shore! After the recent passage of Tropical Storm Sandy, the same vantage point produced an unprecedented-for-New Jersey flight of Pomarine Jaegers, with some 148 counted! Other various vantages along the Delaware (both as bay and as river) produced other astounding beasts. However, we feel for those still suffering from the impacts of Sandy, particularly in Hoboken, NJ, and parts of New York City that may well see weeks or months pass before a complete return to normality.


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the October Bird Photo Quiz—White-tailed Tropicbird:

  1. Mike Hudson, Baltimore, MD
  2. Justin Bosler, Port Clinton, OH
  3. Lance Verderame, Livingston Manor, New York
  4. Jeffrey K. Hanson, Pittsfield, MA
  5. Paul Hurtado, Columbus, OH
  6. Joseph Miller, Nickerson, Kansas
  7. Margaret Smith, Boulder, CO
  8. Claude Auchu, La Pocatiere, Quebec
  9. Aspen Ellis, Ann Arbor, MI
  10. John Hammond, Durham, NC
  11. Don Pendleton, zeast Palo Alto, CA
  12. Graham Etherington, Norwich, UK
  13. David Arbour, De Queen, Arkansas
  14. Greg Schrott, Avon Park, FL
  15. Rick Poulin, Ottawa
  16. Kent Fiala, Hillsborough, NC
  17. Abb Gibson , Winfield,m BC
  18. Marcelo Brongo, Sant Cugat del Valles, Spain
  19. Bob Proctor, Elgin, Scotland
  20. David Rankin, Arundel, ME
  21. Pamela Corwin, Charleston, SC
  22. Nick Newberry, Oakton, VA
  23. Aaron Bilyeu, Placerville, CA
  24. Robert Packard, Riverside, CA
  25. Kevin Hill, SHORELINE, WA
  26. Wayne Meyer, Denison, TX
  27. James McKay, Mesa, AZ
  28. John, Toronto, ON
  29. Willy Hutcheson, Concord, MA
  30. logan kahle, San Francisco, CA
  31. Dean Nicholson, Cranbrook, B.C.
  32. Alan Dupuis, Cambridge, NY
  33. Jon Frodge, Cincinnati, OH
  34. Lucie Bruce, Houston, TX
  35. Andrew Aldrich, Aurora, IL
  36. Michael Lester, Tucson, AZ
  37. Robert McNab, Laguna Niguel, CA
  38. Matt Brady, Baton Rouge, LA
  39. Laure Neish, Penticton, BC Canada
  40. Peter Lamboy, Scotia, NY
  41. Vince Cavalieri, DeWitt, MI
  42. Mark Cranford, Mississauga, ON
  43. Alvan Buckley, St. John's, Newfoundland
  44. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  45. Anya Auerbach, New York, NY
  46. David Bell, Guelph, ON
  47. Tyler Bell, California, Maryland
  48. Thomas Ford-Hutchinson, Irvine, CA
  49. Ross Schaefer, Atascadero, CA
  50. Celestyn Brozek, Albuquerque, NM
  51. Mike Denny, College Place, WA
  52. Chris Blazo, Chambersburg, PA
  53. Mayn Hipp, Boston, MA
  54. Rosemarie Widmer, Allendale NJ
  55. Matt Pike, Redmond, WA
  56. Jim Flynn, Seattle, WA
  57. Zachary Holderby, Penobscot, ME
  58. Evan Dalton, Belchertown, MA
  59. Olivier Barden, Baie-Comeau, Quebec
  60. Dustin Holschuh, Rock Falls,IL
  61. George Cresswell, Colorado Springs, CO
  62. Chloe Walker, Murfreesboro, TN
  63. David Hollie, Ringgold, GA
  64. Bryant Miller, Partridge
  65. Andrew Miller, Partridge
  66. Nate Martineau, Lansing, Michigan
  67. Elaine MacPherson, Sierra Madre CA
  68. Alex Wang, Hilo, Hawaii
  69. Ryan Ford, Philadelphia, PA
  70. Jeff Moore, Roanoke, IN
  71. Terri Everett, Big Rapids, MI
  72. Michael Cannon, Mount Prospect, IL
  73. Stephen Joly, Kamloops, BC
  74. Casey Ryan, Arcata, CA
  75. Nick Lund, Silver Spring, MD
  76. Yousif Attia, Calgary, AB
  77. Blake Mathys, West Mansfield, OH
  78. Robert Doster, Chico, CA
  79. Dave Slager, Columbus, Ohio
  80. Josh Southern, Raleigh, NC
  81. John Arnett, Glendale, AZ
  82. Joseph Mosley, Willard, MO
  83. Barb Robertson, Ottawa, Ontario
  84. Anji Trujillo, Arcata, California
  85. James P. Smith, Gill, MA
  86. Benjamin Shamgochian, East Providence, RI
  87. Sébastien Rioux, Québec city, Quebec
  88. Alexandre Anctil, Rimouski, Qc
  89. Martin Sharp, Edmonton, Alberta
  90. S Nixon, Kansas City, MO
  91. Thomas Snetsinger, Brownsville, OR
  92. Aidan Bodeo-Lomicky, Bethlehem, PA
  93. Eric Antonio Martinez, Oaxaca, Mexico
  94. Jilly Rodriguez Mendez, Oaxaca, Mexico
  95. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, Oregon
  96. 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.

White-tailed Tropicbird
Red-billed Tropicbird
Black-legged Kittiwake
Caspian Tern
Black-Headed Gull
Herring Gull
Sabine's Gull
Bonaparte's Gull
Iceland Gull
Ivory Gull
Laughing Gull
Least Tern
Little Gull
Northern Fulmar
Northern Gannet
Nothern Fulmar
Red-tailed Tropicbird
Royal Tern
Thayer's Gull


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