ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 167

Answer

This month’s quiz bird seems to be a swimming waterbird, but of what species?  Unlike the previous month’s quiz bird, we can see a lot of this one’s head.  Unfortunately, that head is facing away from us, reducing the number of features that we would normally use to identify the beastie, such as bill shape, eye color, and face pattern.  However, despite that lack, there are still enough features visible to arrive at the correct ID.

The very first feature that we might grab onto with this picture is the bird’s apparent lack of a tail.  Even on the shortest-tailed ducks, unless we caught it during its flight-feather molt, it would exhibit an obvious tail.  Just below the apparently lack of a tail is another critical feature:  the white rear end that contrasts strongly with the brown sides and flanks.  This combo of features rules out all native duck species, except for Long-tailed Duck.  The blackish upperparts and wings of our quiz bird would also be a good match for Long-tailed Duck, but our quiz bird’s head would not.  There is no obvious white on the head or neck, but, more importantly, Long-tailed Ducks also have obvious tails.

Various parameters of plumage color and pattern and of shape allow us to rule out geese, coots and gallinules, gulls, loons, tubenoses, boobies, cormorants, and pelicans.  We can also rule out alcids nearly to a species, as alcid plumage runs to blacks, grays, and whites, with the only truly brown alcids being those in the genus Brachyramphus when in alternate plumage.  Of the three such species, just one sports a white rear end, Kittlitz’s Murrelet, but that species has patterning on the various wing and side/flank feathers.  That leaves just the grebes for a solution to the quiz, and once there, the quiz bird’s overall coloration leaves us only a single option, as presented in another picture of the same individual presented below.

I took this picture of a Pied-billed Grebe at Largo Nature Reserve, Pinellas County, Florida, on 17 January 2017.  While grebes do have tails, they are insignificant and generally not visible amongst the fluffy rear-end plumage.

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The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the February 2017 Bird Photo Quiz —Pied-billed Grebe:

  1. Joshua Glant - Seattle, WA
  2. WESLEY SERAFIN - ORLAND PARK,Il
  3. Brandon Nooner - Fort Collins Colorado
  4. David Buckley - Albuquerque, NM
  5. tom graham - seabrook nh
  6. Robert McCarthy - Satellite Beach FL
  7. Dustin HOLSCHUH - Peoria
  8. Pam Myers - Marysville, WA
  9. kris tyner - clearlake oaks, california
  10. Brian Menker - Dayton, OH
  11. Tom Lally - Chicago, IL
  12. Martina Nordstrand - Indian Trail, NC
  13. Alison Beringer - Bloomfield, NJ
  14. Andrew Theus - Savannah, GA
  15. Adriana L. - Delaware, Ohio
  16. Noah Frade - Miami, FL
  17. Sally Michaud - Chattanooga, TN
  18. Ryan Zucker - New York, NY
  19. Claude Auchu - La Pocatiere, Quebec
  20. Daphne Asbell - Tallahassee
  21. Karl Erich Mayer - Tawas City, Michigan
  22. Timothy Swain - Concord, Massachusetts
  23. Patrick Maurice - Atlanta, Georgia
  24. Jerald Reb - Frederica, DE
  25. David Tønnessen - Colorado Springs, CO
  26. Kristen Johnson - Haverford, PA
  27. Oliver Burrus - Carpentersville, IL
  28. Chris Sloan - Nashville, TN
  29. Kris Bisgard - Atlanta,GA
  30. Andrew Bobe - Hamilton, NJ
  31. Avery Chan - Oviedo, Florida
  32. Kyle Lima - Ellsworth, ME
  33. Chris Warren - Makawao, HI
  34. Nick Ramsey - Missoula, Montana
  35. William Hutcheson - Concord, MA
  36. Whit Newton - Wagram, NC
  37. Michael Dreibelbis - State College, PA
  38. Nathan Webb - Elba, AL
  39. Jim Hully - Grayslake, IL
  40. Todd Yampol - Chandler, AZ
  41. Abbie Valine - Carlton, MN
  42. Maurice Bertrand - Phoenix, AZ
  43. David Hollie - Ringgold, GA
  44. Nick Mrvelj - Portland, OR
  45. Erica Rutherford - Oakland, CA
  46. David Rankin - Moreno Valley, CA
  47. Bob Proctor - Elgin, Scotland
  48. Hiram Herrera - Chula Vista
  49. Walker Catlett - Charlottesville, VA
  50. Wayne Meyer - Denison, TX
  51. Kathy Carroll - Bonner Springs, KS
  52. Chloe Walker - Murfreesboro, TN
  53. Eli Hershberger - Sugarcreek OH
  54. Isabel Apkarian - Toronto, Ontario
  55. Adam Green - Thornton, CO
  56. Patrick Tilley - Encinitas, CA
  57. Jack Rogers - Mt Pleasant, SC
  58. Max Rabinowitz - Anchorage, AK
  59. Jared Parks - Easton, MD
  60. Peter Lane - Québec, Canada
  61. Kellen Apuna - Pearl City, HI
  62. Kevin Ebert - Chevy Chase
  63. Ruth M. Smith - Estacada, Oregon
  64. Matthew Press - Sarasota, FL
  65. William Rockey - Esparto, CA
  66. Michael Scott Levy - Centereach, New York
  67. Joshua Palmer - Dublin
  68. Blake Mathys - West Mansfield, OH
  69. Anya Auerbach - New York, NY
  70. Angus Pritchard - Decatur, GA
  71. Niko Ranta - Clackamas, Oregon
  72. Isaiah Nugent - Bellingham, WA
  73. Brennan Obermayer - Barrie
  74. Rosemarie Widmer - Allendale NJ
  75. Sameer Apte - Pittsburgh, PA
  76. Cole G. - Vancouver, BC
  77. Beko Binder - Pleasant Hill, CA
  78. Samantha Hauser - Lafayette, LA
  79. Darrel Wilder - Sun Lakes, AZ
  80. Sharon Gilchrist - Livingston, Texas
  81. Jordan Spindel - New York, NY
  82. Joshua Glant - Seattle, WA
  83. Josh Southern - Holly Springs, NC
  84. Allen Brooks - Corvallis, Oregon
  85. Aaron Marshall - Prince George, British Columbia
  86. Aiden Moser - Henniker, NH
  87. David Clark - Norfolk, VA
  88. Katrina Hucks - Lafayette, Louisiana
  89. Sam Zhang - Andover, MA
  90. Joe Boros - Big Prairie, Ohio
  91. Isaac - Kamloops, BC
  92. Wes Hatch - ROSWELL, GA
  93. Greg Prelich - Manchester, NJ
  94. Paul Levesque - Vancouver BC
  95. Jackie Allison - Nipomo, California
  96. Mike Wasilco - Caledonia, NY
  97. Caroline Martin - Edmonton, AB
  98. Nick Dorian - Medford, MA
  99. Martin Sharp - Edmonton, Alberta
  100. Ray Harris - Macon, GA
  101. Hallie Mason - New Philadelphia, Ohio
  102. John Branchflower - Portland, Oregon
  103. Todd Alfes - Kalamazoo, MI
  104. Danny Tipton - Albuquerque, NM
  105. Lance Runion - Little Rock, AR
  106. William DaPore - Greenville, SC
  107. Nina Sitra - Sugar Land, TX
  108. Connor Charchuk - Edmonton, AB
  109. Drew Beamer - San Diego, CA
  110. August Davidson-Onsgard - Brooklyn, NY
  111. Kim - Silver Spring, MD
  112. Adonis Belize - Bowie, MD
  113. David Gibson - University City, MO
  114. Abby Welch - Chapel Hill, NC
  115. Liam Tsao - Madison, WI
  116. Andrew Dunn - Smyrna, DE
  117. Tim Lamey - Fargo, ND
  118. Gayle Garman - Seattle, Washington
  119. Madeline Alfieri - Bath, NY
  120. Gail Fennell - Edmonton, AB
  121. Michael Fialkovich - Pittsburgh, PA
  122. jennifer sweatt - south lake tahoe, ca
  123. Amy Courtney - Hoonah, AK
  124. Jill Kaminski - Bonita Springs, FL
  125. Julie Desmeules - Quebec, Quebec
  126. Ashwin S. - Beaverton, OR
  127. Terri Everett - Big Rapids, MI
  128. Harsi Parker - Vashon, WA
  129. Shane Brown - Granville, OH
  130. Gary Koehn - Colorado Springs
  131. Greg Zupansic - Eugene, Oregon
  132. Kent Fiala - Hillsborough, NC
  133. Lindy Wagenaar - Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
  134. Kirk LaGory - Downers Grove, IL
  135. George Cresswell - Colorado Springs, CO
  136. Andy Eckerson - Dighton, MA
  137. Jessica Kim - Houston, TX
  138. Cathy Sheeter - Oradell, NJ
  139. Ed Harper - Carmichael, CA
  140. Keith Bailey - Davis, Ca
  141. Tim Cohen - Bensalem, PA
  142. Jason Ward - Lithonia, Georgia
  143. Gavin Aquila - Stewartsville, New Jersey
  144. Liz McQuaid - Cleveland, OH
  145. Kyle Hudick - Paicines, CA
  146. Andrea Metts - Asheville NC


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.



Least Grebe
2
Eared Grebe
2
Ruddy Duck
2
Red-throated Loon
1
 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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