ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 141

Answer

This month’s quiz bird is an apparently large bird with all-white plumage, which greatly reduces the options to some swans and egrets/herons. However, our bird lacks webbed feet – there are toes sticking out all over the place – leaving us with only ardeids (members of the family Ardeidae, the herons) as options. Looking at those toes gives us another clue. The toes are dark, ruling out Snowy Egret and Great White Heron, a form that has been considered a color morph (of Great Blue Heron), a subspecies (of Great Blue Heron), and a species, with the last option, perhaps, being the correct one (recent genetic evidence shows quite a differentiation from Great Blue Heron). I would be leery of ruling Little Blue Heron out, as the species’s green legs and toes might look this dark at this angle. Also, while Cattle Egret has dark legs in much of its annual cycle and reddish legs during high breeding condition, leg color in the species is incredibly variable (yellow, orange, red, dark). The main point for this essay, though, is that at least some birds during at least some of the year have dark legs and toes, so our quiz bird’s toe color does not rule out that option.

On ones tack to this bird’s identification, one might consider wing length versus body size, which would probably work, as large birds, all else being equal, have longer wings relative to their size than do small birds. However, once we have ruled out Great White Heron, we can short-circuit the entire ID process by focusing on that large bulge hanging below. That is the bird’s neck and, among the egrets (including Little Blue Heron, which, of course, is in the genus Egretta for crying out loud), only one species shows such a prominent low-hanging neck bulge, due to its very long neck.

I took this picture of a Great Egret at Harbor Beach, Huron Co., MI, on 13 April 2014.

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

  1. Michael David - Altoona
  2. Dustin Holschuh - Rock Falls, Il
  3. William Almeida - Newark, DE
  4. James Cleaver - Richland, WA
  5. Elliot Schunke - Tallahassee, FL
  6. Amy Courtney - Juneau, AK
  7. Abbie Valine - Carlton, MN
  8. Josh Southern - Raleigh, NC
  9. Chris Warren - Makawao, HI
  10. David Greenspoon - Reisterstown, md
  11. Alyssia Church - Pine Grove Mills, PA
  12. Elaine Reilly - Belchertown, MA
  13. eli anders - queen anne
  14. Claire Wayner - Baltimore, Maryland
  15. Matthew Press - Sarasota, FL
  16. Greg Prelich - Manchester, NJ
  17. Michael Lester - Salt Lake City, UT
  18. Claude Auchu - La Pocatiere, Quebec
  19. Rob Fergus - Union Twp, NJ
  20. Darrel Wilder - Sun Lakes, AZ
  21. logan kahle - San Francisco, CA
  22. Ninad Thakoor - Riverside
  23. Charlotte Wasylik - Vermilion, Alberta
  24. Joshua Christian - Hanover, MN
  25. Tom Lally - Chicago, IL
  26. Dean Nicholson - Cranbrook, B.C.
  27. Nick Block - Easton, MA
  28. Chuck Carlson - Ft. Peck, MT
  29. Bob Proctor - Elgin, Scotland
  30. Joseph Miller - Nickerson, Kansas
  31. Amy Darling - Denver, CO
  32. Karl Erich Mayer - Tawas City, Michigan
  33. Daniel Carrier - Purcellville, Virginia
  34. Caroline Martin - Calgary, AB
  35. Hiram Herrera - Chula Vista, CA
  36. Erica Rutherford - Oakland, CA
  37. Celestyn Brozek - Albuquerque, NM
  38. Nathan Webb - Elba, AL
  39. Mike Wasilco - Caledonia, NY
  40. Andrew Keaveney - Toronto, Ontario
  41. Riley Walker - Greenwood, Indiana
  42. Michael Cannon - Mount Prospect, IL
  43. Lauren Gibson - Westford, VT
  44. Kyle Lima - Ellsworth, Maine
  45. Don Lima - Ellsworth,ME
  46. Gautam Apte - Shaker Heights, OH
  47. Max Kirsch - Granger, IN
  48. John Habig - Carlisle, OH
  49. Eli Miller - Millersburg Ohio
  50. Clifford Hawley - Sacramento
  51. Niko Ranta - Clackamas, Oregon
  52. Austin Young - Filer, ID
  53. Irvin Louque - Lake Charles, LA
  54. Brian Menker - Dayton, OH
  55. Annie Meyer - Arcata, CA
  56. tom graham - seabrook nh
  57. Miles Brengle - Ipswich, MA
  58. Jack Rogers - Mt Pleasant, SC
  59. Mireille Barry - Québec
  60. Julie Desmeules - Quebec City, QC
  61. Eric Heisey - Granger, Washington
  62. Rahul Mukherjee - Sandy, Utah
  63. Suzanne Sullivan - Wilmington ma
  64. Sam Ewing - Gainesville, Florida
  65. Alec Hopping - Littleton, CO
  66. Isaac - Kamloops, British Columbia
  67. Cheryl Kilmer - Lancaster, OH
  68. Scott Miller - Leslie, MO
  69. Patty McKelvey - Sheffield Village, Ohio
  70. Greg Zupansic - Eugene, Oregon
  71. Mark Burns - St. Petersburg, FL
  72. Jim Weigand - Berkeley, CA
  73. J. Kyron Hanson - PITTSFIELD
  74. Greg Schrott - Avon Park, FL
  75. John Shamgochian - East Providence, RI
  76. Terri Everett - Big Rapids, MI
  77. Todd Alfes - Grand Forks, ND
  78. David Hollie - Ringgold, GA
  79. b - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  80. Don Jones - Middlebury, VT
  81. Eddie Hicks - Okemos, MI
  82. Geoff Urwin - Warman, Saskatchewan
  83. Martin Sharp - Edmonton, Alberta
  84. Jon Atwood - Keene, NH
  85. Alec - Marquette, Michigan
  86. Joshua Glant - Seattle, WA
  87. Michael S.Levy - Centereach, N.Y.
  88. Mike Freund - Seattle, WA
  89. Linda Pittman - Wilton, CA
  90. Mike Fialkovich - Pittsburgh
  91. Justin Hopkins - Peoria, AZ
  92. Larry Kline - Fredericksburg, VA
  93. Noelle - Des Moines, Iowa
  94. Patrice Domeischel - Setauket, New York
  95. Fyn Kynd - Searsmont, Maine
  96. David Tonnessen - Colorado
  97. Gary Woods - Fresno, CA
  98. Kim Silver - Spring, MD
  99. Bridget - Vancouver, BC
  100. Elisa Yang - Mission Viejo, CA
  101. Lance Verderame - Livingston Manor, New York
  102. Caroline Biel - Toronto, Ontario
  103. Adrian Burke - New York City, NY
  104. Michael Kline - Fredericksburg Va.
  105. Scott Meyer - Richfield, MN
  106. Evan Dalton - Belchertown, MA
  107. Beko Binder - Madison, WI
  108. Mark clegg - San Mateo, California
  109. Robert Packard - Riverside, CA
  110. Nick Heppenstall - Seattle, WA
  111. John Branchflower - Portland, OR
  112. Josh Parks - Fairbanks, Ak
  113. Steven Bouyack - Broadview Heights, OH
  114. Trysten Loefke - Valley Center, California
  115. Barb Duncan - Jefferson City, MO
  116. Linda Fink - Grand Ronde, OR
  117. Gary Koehn - Colorado Springs, Colorado
  118. Nina Sitra - Sugar Land, TX
  119. Ed Harper - Carmichael, CA
  120. Jack Holloway - Mesa, AZ
  121. George Cresswell - Colorado Springs, CO
  122. Daroczi J. Szilard - Tg.-Mures, Romania
  123. Isabella Muro - Palm Bay, Florida
  124. Pete Fenner - East Peoria, IL
  125. John Rodgers - Pasadena
  126. Nick Newberry - Oakton, Va
  127. Hannah Tripp - King George, VA
  128. Patrick Newcombe - Potomac, Maryland
  129. Brennan Obermayer - Barrie, ON
  130. Kristen Martyn - Richmond Hill, ON
  131. John Hammond - Durham, NC
  132. Colin dobson - Jacksonville IL
  133. Peter Crosson - Osterville, Mass.
  134. Blake Mathys - West Mansfield, OH
  135. Chloe Walker - Murfreesboro, TN
  136. Jonah Lindquist - Seward Alaska
  137. Liam Waters - Sharon, MA
  138. Scott Laurent - Kansas City, MO


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.



Cattle Egret
4
Reddish Egret
4
Snowy Egret
3
Ivory Gull
2
Glaucous Gull
1
Snow Goose
1
Snowy Owl
1
Trumpeter Swan
1
Tundra Swan
1


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