ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 171


A brown, streaky bird perched on a utility wire is this month’s quiz offering. Other characters one might note include the contrastingly pale supercilium and the wide, flaring lateral throat stripe. Considering that the words “brown” and “streaky” were mentioned in the first sentence and that the bird – relative to the wire – seems fairly small, we might start with New World sparrows (our various Old World sparrows are not streaky). Though some birders seem not to have pegged the shape of the lateral throat stripes as a useful ID character when dealing with sparrows, among that group, our bird’s lateral throat stripe would restrict the options quite nicely to Savannah, Vesper, Fox, and Song sparrows and Lark Bunting. While we might start searching for clues on the rest of the bird to differentiate those five sparrow species, we might first want to confirm that our first impression of sparrow-ness was correct, and the bill ought to be the first stop.

Once we have jettisoned the sparrows – and the similarly thickish-billed longspurs – from our solution set due to our quiz bird’s thin, pointy bill, we might consider a few warbler options. While there are certainly New World warblers that are brown and streaky and there are certainly New World warblers that have fairly long tails (as exhibited by our quiz bird), the combination is right out for the Parulidae. Thus, again, we will have to look elsewhere.

That long tail seems to be extensively white from below, telling us that at least the outer tail feather on each side is extensively white. Hmm. Brown. Streaky. Thin bill. Long tail with white outer rectrices. We might want to consider pipits. “Nah,” you might say, “pipits are found on the ground, not perched up in the air column.” In the ABA Area, that is mostly true, what with our measly two breeding species. But pipits comprise a large group that exhibit a quite-wide diversity of behaviors and plumage patterns that are only barely hinted at by our two species. One of those hints is using elevated perches at times. Besides, enough diversity of Old World species of pipits occur more (Red-throated, Olive-backed) or less (Pechora) regularly, or rarely (Tree), in the ABA Area, so once we have resigned ourselves to the quiz bird belonging to Anthus, we will just have to crack open the field guide to remind us of the ID points differentiating pipits. We can certainly check on various characters, but we can also short-circuit the process by looking at our quiz bird’s legs, at least, what we can see of them, which, unfortunately, is just toes. However, that is more than enough as those toes are blackish. Let’s see. Sprague’s – pink. Red-throated – pink. Olive-backed – pink. Pechora – pink. Tree – pink.

I took this picture of an American Pipit at Hay Lake, Glacier County, Montana, on 29 August 2016. While there are American Pipits that sport pink or pinkish legs (including toes), just about any pipit found in the ABA Area exhibiting dark legs is an American.


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the June 2017 Bird Photo Quiz —American Pipit:

  1. Ryan Zucker - New York, NY
  2. Tim Swain - Concord, Massachusetts
  3. Josh Cantor - Woodbury, NY
  4. Clifford Hawley - Sacramento, CA
  5. Matthew Press - Sarasota, FL
  6. Karl Erich Mayer - Tawas City, Michigan
  7. Elliot Schunke - Tallahassee, FL
  8. Andrew Theus - Savannah,GA
  9. Thomas Kallmeyer - Missoula, MT
  10. Dustin Holschuh - Peoria,Illinois
  11. Paula Aschim - Bloomington, IL
  12. Tom Lally - Chicago, IL
  13. Tim Wilson - Mcminnville
  14. Jeanne Tinsman - Las Vegas, NV
  15. Theresa Hyde - Murrieta, CA
  16. Greg Knadle - Falls Church, VA
  17. Nathan Martineau - Lansing, Michigan
  18. Walker Catlett - Charlottesville, VA
  19. Sally Michaud - Chattanooga, TN
  20. Nicholas Ranta - Clackamas, Oregon
  21. Aiden Moser - Henniker, NH
  22. Cole Gaerber - Vancouver, BC
  23. Claude Auchu - La Pocatiere, Quebec
  24. Mark Greene - Trenton, TN
  25. Dixie Burkhart - Lawrence, MI
  26. Joseph Kennedy - houston, texas
  27. Jeff Bailey - Chuckey, Tn.
  28. Nathan Webb - Enterprise, AL
  29. Bret Mossman - Hilo, HI
  30. John Branchflower - Portland, OR
  31. Malcolm Gold - Overland Park, Kansas
  32. Steven Clethro - Flintshire,U.K
  33. Ben Shamgochian - East Providence, RI
  34. Bob Proctor - Elgin, Scotland
  35. Sharon Farris - Newport, DE
  36. Stephen Joly - Kamloops, BC
  37. Joshua Glant - Seattle, WA
  38. Benjamin Ewing - Malta, MT
  39. Jennie Flynt - Tallahassee, FL
  40. Isabel Apkarian - Toronto, Ontario
  41. Aiden Dartley - Ridgewood, NJ
  42. Shane Brown - Granville, OH
  43. Debbie Sutherland - Cashmere,WA
  44. Aaron Maizlish - San Francisco ca
  45. Katarina Akhmetova - Birmingham, AL
  46. Tonya Holland - Tucson AZ
  47. David Buckley - Albuquerque, NM
  48. Isaac - Kamloops, BC
  49. Ken Youngleib - San Mateo, ca
  50. Bridget Spencer - Vancouver, BC
  51. Kyle Lima - Ellsworth, ME
  52. Arlene Ripley - St. David, AZ
  53. Eli Hershberger - Sugarcreek Ohio
  54. William Rockey - Esparto, CA
  55. Brien Weiner - Valley Stream, NY
  56. Chloe Walker - Murfreesboro, TN
  57. Isaiah Nugent - Bellingham, WA
  58. Josh Southern - Holly Springs, NC
  59. Rosemarie Widmer - Allendale NJ
  60. Ben Young - Kalispell, MT
  61. Peter Lane - Québec, Canada
  62. Jon Atwood - Keene, NH
  63. Kristen Johnson - Haverford, PA
  64. Mike Wasilco - Caledonia, NY
  65. Liam Tsao - Madison, Wisconsin
  66. Julie Desmeules - Quebec, QC
  67. Ed Harper - Carmichael, CA
  68. Isaac Hosch - Mahtomedi, MN
  69. Ron Pozzi - Granite Bay, CA
  70. Celestyn Brozek - Albuquerque, NM
  71. Adonis Belize - Bowie, MD
  72. Kim - Silver Spring. MD
  73. Jared Parks - Church Hill
  74. Chuck Carlson - Ft. Peck, MT
  75. Daphne Asbell - Tallahassee, Florida
  76. Jim Hully - Grayslake, IL
  77. Hiram Herrera - Chula Vista, CA
  78. Wes Hatch - Marietta, GA
  79. Richard Cissel - Carney, MD
  80. Hallie Mason - New Philadelphia, Ohio
  81. Robert McCarthy - Satellite Beach Fl
  82. Thomas Gray - winston-salem, nc
  83. Rusty Shackleford - Toronto, ON
  84. Todd Alfes - Kalamazoo, MI
  85. Jon Thometz - Onalaska, WI
  86. Brian Menker - Dayton, Ohio
  87. Chris Swarth - Mariposa, California
  88. Patrick Tilley - Encinitas, CA
  89. Celestyn Brozek - Albuquerque, NM
  90. Nick Dorian - Medford, MA
  91. Logan Anderson - Lynchburg, VA
  92. Pam Myers - Marysville, WA
  93. David Hollie - Ringgold, GA
  94. Greg Zupansic - Eugene, Oregon
  95. Terri Everett - Big Rapids, MI
  96. Steve Juhasz - Mission, BC
  97. William Roy - Main Bakersfield,ca
  98. John Colbert - Oakland, CA
  99. Bill Williams - Nome, AK
  100. Nick Varvel - Hays, KS
  101. Martin Sharp - Edmonton, Alberta
  102. Sam Zhang - Andover, MA
  103. Cathy Sheeter - Oradell, NJ
  104. Blake Mathys - West Mansfield, OH
  105. Philip Kline - Portland, OR
  106. Max Rabinowitz - Anchorage, AK
  107. Gordon Payne - London, ON
  108. Richard Tiede - San Jose
  109. Kyle Leader - Olympia
  110. Avery Chan - Oviedo, Florida
  111. Robert Packard - Riverside, CA
  112. Nick Mrvelj - Portland, OR
  113. A. Algazzali - Hercules, 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.

Louisiana Waterthrush
Red-throated Pipit
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Palm Warbler
Hermit Thrush
Northern Waterthrush
Sprague's Pipit
Song Sparrow
Sprague's Pipit
Northern Mockingbird
Water Pipit











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