ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 139


The apparently small size (assessed relative to the vegetation) and dark tail with large white spots should take us straight to the Parulidae without passing “Go” or considering other groups. Once among those sprightly denizens so beloved of birders, I can imagine three tacks that we might take to arrive at the correct identification, with each based on a single visible character.

To the way I think, I would run with the tail spots, but I used this picture specifically to discuss one of the other two characters obliquely referred to above: the yellow rump. I have found that for many birders, a warbler with a yellow rump is a Yellow-rumped Warbler (note how important those capital letters are!). While Yellow-rumped Warbler (in all of its current taxonomic uncertainty) is the most abundant parulid sporting the character, it is not the only one. It is also not the only warbler with a contrasting yellow rump – that is, with the color differing dramatically from the color(s) of the uppertail coverts and the back. Note that those black feathers with gray fringes are mostly uppertail coverts. (As an aside, the extent of black on those feathers can assist with determination of age and/or sex in a fair few of the warblers formerly in Dendroica, with adults and males having more-extensive black on these feathers than do immatures and females – our quiz bird is probably an adult male).

Though noting the yellow rump may not get us to the quiz’s solution immediately, combining it with either the color of the underparts or the shape and positioning of the tail spots will. Our quiz bird shows white tail spots on, at least, the outer three rectrices, but with that white not reaching the feather’s tip on the outermost. That would be sufficient to rule out Yellow-rumped, but our bird also exhibits extensive yellow on the underparts. Both features also rule out Cape May Warbler, leaving us with the third member of the contrastingly-yellow-rumped warbler triumvirate.

I took this picture of a male Magnolia Warbler at Cass City, Tuscola Co., MI, on 16 May 2014.


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

  1. Steve Holzman - North High Shoals, GA

  2. Alyssia Church - Pine Grove Mills, PA
  3. Nick Block - Easton, MA
  4. Daroczi J. Szilard - Tg.-Mures, Romania
  5. Tom Lally - Chicago, IL
  6. Abbie Valine - Carlton, MN
  7. J. Kyron Hanson - Pittsfield, MA
  8. Noelle - Des Moines, Iowa
  9. Hannah Tripp - King George, VA
  10. Irvin Louque - Lake Charles
  11. Andy Eckerson - Massachusetts
  12. Evan Dalton - Belchertown, MA
  13. Chris Blazo - Chambersburg, PA
  14. Tom Ford-Hutchinson - Irvine, CA
  15. Joe Hanfman - Columbia, MD
  16. Martin Sharp - Edmonton, AB
  17. Hiram Herrera - Chula Vista, CA
  18. Sam Ewing - Gainesville, Florida
  19. Greg Prelich - Manchester, NJ
  20. Claude Auchu - La Pocatiere, Quebec
  21. Jack Holloway - Mesa, AZ
  22. David Rankin - Riverside, CA
  23. Amy Courtney - Juneau, AK
  24. Alec Hopping - Littleton, CO
  25. Justyn Stahl - San Clemente Island, CA
  26. Bob Proctor - Elgin, Scotland
  27. David Hollie - Ringgold
  28. Brian Menker - Dayton, OH
  29. Scott B. Meyer - Richfield, MN
  30. Darrel Wilder - Johnson City, TN
  31. Nina Sitra - Sugar Land, TX
  32. Nick Newberry - Oakton, Va
  33. tom graham - seabrook nh
  34. Tim Schreckengost - Milton, DE
  35. Kevin Ebert - Chevy Chase
  36. Caleb Ewing - Gainesville
  37. Gautam Apte - Shaker Heights, OH
  38. Claire Wayner - Baltimore, Maryland
  39. Celestyn Brozek - Albuquerque, NM
  40. Joshua Glant - Seattle, Washington
  41. Frances Raskin - Bismarck ND
  42. Gyekeny Gertrude - Arad, Romania
  43. Josh Parks - Fairbanks, AK
  44. Cathy Sheeter - Aurora, CO
  45. John - Toronto, ON
  46. Patty McKelvey - Sheffield Village, Ohio
  47. William Rockey - Esparto, CA
  48. John Loch - Bedford, NS
  49. Casey Ryan - Fort Wayne, IN
  50. Pam Myers - Marysville, WA
  51. Patrice Domeischel - Setauket, NY
  52. Barb Duncan - Jefferson City, MO
  53. Dean Nicholson - Cranbrook, B.C.
  54. Erica Rutherford - Oakland, CA
  55. Mike Fialkovich - Pittsburgh, PA
  56. Greg Schrott - Avon Park, FL
  57. Cal Walters - Piedmont, CA
  58. Adrian Burke - New York, New York
  59. Alan Brien - Klein-Weiner Lindenhurst, NY
  60. Wayne Meyer - Denison, TX
  61. Kyle Lima - Ellsworth, Maine
  62. Don Lima - Ellsworth, ME
  63. Peter Lane - Québec City, Canada
  64. Bridget - Vancouver BC
  65. Stephen Kloiber - Pen Argyl, PA
  66. Madeline Alfieri - Honeoye Falls, NY
  67. Linda Pittman - Wilton, CA
  68. James Telford - Calgary, AB
  69. Linda Fink - Grand Ronde, OR
  70. Jared Parks - Church Hill, MD
  71. John Hammond - Durham, NC
  72. Chuck Carlson - Ft. Peck, MT
  73. Barb Robertson - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  74. Isaac - Kamloops, BC
  75. Jonah Joffe - Wynnewood, PA
  76. Joseph Miller - Nickerson, Kansas
  77. Greg Zupansic - Eugene, Oregon
  78. Joshua Christian - Hanover
  79. Blake Mathys - West Mansfield, OH
  80. Beko Binder - Davis, CA
  81. Kevin Hill - SHORELINE, WA
  82. Simon Kiacz - Holland, MI
  83. Jeffrey Moore - Roanoke
  84. Larry Kline - Fredericksburg, VA
  85. Austin Young - Filer, ID
  86. Brennan Obermayer - Barrie
  87. Jonathan Frodge - Cincinnati, OH
  88. Isaac Hosch - St. Paul, MN
  89. Ed Harper - Carmichael, CA
  90. Eli M. Miller - Millersburg
  91. Kristen Martyn - Richmond Hill, ON
  92. Nick Minor - Libertyville, IL

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.

Cape May Warbler
Kirtland's Warbler
Pine Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Western Tanager
White-winged Crossbill
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Lawrence's Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch


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