ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 161


From this month’s bird’s toes – yellow, taloned, unfeathered – and the general pale coloration below, it seems that, again, we’re dealing with a diurnal raptor.  Snowy Owl can be eliminated on the strength of that species’s feathered toes, among other characters.  Like last month, we might want to skip straight to the buteos, as various plumage features seem to rule out any other options.  The bird is not streaked enough for any juvenal accipiter (and lacks their long toes), lacks Prairie Falcon’s dark axillars (wingpits) and long toes, and it’s just too pale overall or too marked underneath to belong anywhere else.

The barred (-ish) tail might suggest juveniles of Red-shouldered, Broad-winged, and Red-tailed hawks.  If considering Red-tailed, the overall paleness may, once again, suggest Krider’s Hawk.  Unfortunately, we cannot see enough of the underside of the wings to determine whether the bird sports patagial bars, that ipso facto field mark for Red-tailed Hawks of any pale persuasion.  The paler end of the spectrum of juvenile Broad-winged Hawk could comfortably house our quiz bird’s underparts coloration and pattern, though the tail would be a bit odd.  The bird is certainly too pale for anything in the Red-shouldered camp short of a leucistic individual.  (A quick aside:  That first ‘c’ in ‘leucistic’ is soft, as it (nearly) always is in English when preceding ‘i.’  Go ahead, think about it.  You might want to also think about that southwestern Ohio city.)

However, if we allow our gaze to travel a bit upward from the bird’s toes, we should notice that, unlike the toes, the visible parts of the rest of both legs are feathered.  Determining whether a buteo’s legs are feathered can be tricky in light individuals (all buteos have pale leg skin, so…), a fact made a bit more obvious by the non-obviousness of the quiz bird’s leg feathering.   Since our bird lacks any other suggestion of Rough-legged Hawk plumage, we have our solution to this month’s quiz.

I took this picture of a light-morph, one-year-old Ferruginous Hawk near Hay Lake, Glacier Co., MT, on 23 June 2016 (see eBird checklist).  The local production of the species has not fledged by this date and even if such did fledge by then, they would show much more of the salmon wash on the chest of light juveniles that young than the bare suggestion of such in our quiz bird.   One of the preceding pictures of the quiz bird, before it so unceremoniously departed to provide the quiz photo, is presented below.  In it, note the extensive gape mentioned in the previous month’s quiz solution.

So, how many used the fact of last month’s quiz bird being a Ferruginous Hawk to either rule in or rule out that species for this month’s quiz?


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the August 2016 Bird Photo Quiz —Ferruginous Hawk:

  1. Elliot schunke - Tallahassee, FL
  2. Tom Lally - Chicago, IL
  3. wes serafin - orland park
  4. Jason McGuire - London, ON
  5. Thomas Kallmeyer - Missoula, MT
  6. Kevin Manley - Mendota Heights, Minnesota
  7. Karl Erich Mayer - Tawas City, Michigan
  8. Andrew Theus - Berrien Springs, MI
  9. Celestyn Brozek - Albuquerque, NM
  10. Kyle Lima - Ellsworth, ME
  11. Pam Myers - Marysville, WA 98270
  12. Darrel Wilder - Sun Lakes, AZ
  13. Justin Bosler - Austin, Texas
  14. Jackie Allison - Nipomo California
  15. Allen Brooks - Corvallis,Oregon
  16. Timothy Swain - Concord, Massachusetts
  17. John Branchflower - Portland, Oregon
  18. John Tramontano - Warwick, Pa.
  19. Linda Pittman - Wilton, CA
  20. Szilard Daroczi - Targu Mures
  21. Angus Pritchard - Decatur, GA
  22. Bridget Spencer - Vancouver, BC
  23. Greg Zupansic - Eugene, Oregon
  24. William Rockey - Esparto, CA
  25. Dean Nicholson - Cranbrook, B.C.
  26. Aranya Karighattam - Davis, CA
  27. Terri Everett - Big Rapids, MI
  28. Ed Harper - Carmichael, CA
  29. Ryan - Oakland, CA
  30. Cathy Sheeter - Oradell, NJ
  31. sharon farris - Newport, DE
  32. Andy Eckerson - Dighton, MA
  33. Robert Packard - Riverside, CA

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.

Red-tailed Hawk
Prairie Falcon
Broad-winged Hawk
Rough-legged Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
Northern Goshawk
Snowy Owl


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