ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 24


Bird Photo

The long pointed wings of this bird should immediately call to mind pelagic birds: shearwaters, albatross, petrels, gannets and boobies. The long pointed bill and relatively pointed tail quickly eliminate most possibilities other than gannets and boobies. Some shearwaters are vaguely similar to our bird in plumage, but none have the long pointed bill of this bird.

Narrowing our choices down to boobies and gannets is a good first step, but that's when things become somewhat complicated. In the ABA area, Northern Gannet is the most widespread and common species, so it's best to start there. Structurally our bird is similar to a gannet. Those who see lots of gannets may note that they typically appear longer-winged in proportion to the body. While quite useful in the field, its utility in this single photo is perhaps more limited—particularly for those without comparative experience with gannets and boobies (which I suspect includes most of us). The one thing that stands out on our bird is that the dark breast contrasts with the paler belly. There is a sharp line of demarcation between the breast and belly, and the upper breast does not become noticeably paler. Instead the breast and head are generally the same color. The pattern of the underparts really only fits one species—Brown Booby.

But what of this individual's reddish-colored feet? Those who spend even modest amounts of time looking at photos on the internet or magazines may simply attribute this to poor color reproduction. Such a hypothesis is well-reasoned, but wrong. This individual had feet that appeared quite pinkish. If anything they appear less pink in this photo due to the shady conditions. While many texts refer to Brown Boobies as having yellowish colored feet, it is not unusual to see young brewsteri Brown Boobies with pinkish colored feet. So if you see a brown booby off California or in the Interior West with pinkish-colored feet, you should look beyond foot color to identify the species. In addition to the difference in underparts (Red-footeds have dusky breast bands), note that Red-footed Booby also has all dark underwings.

I photographed this juvenile brewsteri Brown Booby in February 2005 off Manzanillo, Mexico.


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the March Bird Photo Quiz—brewsteri Brown Booby:

  1. Jason Sailing, Madison, WI
  2. Will Richardson, Truckee, CA
  3. Andrew Sigerson, Sussex, NJ
  4. Nicholas Sly, Ithaca, NY
  5. Marcelo Brongo, Barcelona, Spain
  6. Seth Gallagher, Fort Collins, CO
  7. Philip Kline, Tucson, AZ
  8. Caity Reiland-Smith, Sioux Falls, SD
  9. Kevin Kerr, Guelph, Ontario
  10. Kyle Horner, Guelph, Ontario
  11. Ben Coulter, Erie, PA
  12. Thomas Ford-Hutchinson, Doylestown, PA
  13. Bill Schmoker, Longmont, CO
  14. Terry Toppins, Missoula, MT
  15. Graham Etherington, Norwich, United Kingdom
  16. Robert Lengacher, Tallahassee, FL
  17. Tim White, Hilton Head Island, SC
  18. Jeremy Faucher, Enfield CT
  19. Ann Mcdonald, Kamloops BC
  20. Stephen Shunk, Sisters, OR
  21. Peter Wilkinson, Hertfordshire, UK
  22. Brad Wilkinson, Tallmadge, OH
  23. Ken Young, Coquille, OR
  24. Kevin Kearns, Neenah, WI
  25. Tony Ford-Hutchinson, Doylestown, PA
  26. Tommy Walker, Kenner, La.
  27. Mary Chambers, Davis, CA
  28. Chris, Nashville, TN
  29. Jenny Michaels, Tucker, GA
  30. Clifton Kahler, Avon Park, FL
  31. Chad Soard, Cincinnati, OH
  32. John Kuenzli, Columbus, OH
  33. Lori Fujimoto, Colorado Springs, CO
  34. Alan J. Knue, Seattle, WA
  35. Doug Hanna, Dallas, TX
  36. Michael Miller, Chicago, IL
  37. Kevin Wyckoff, Noblesville, IN
  38. Robert Young, Alexandria, VA
  39. James P. Smith, Keene, NH
  40. Manuel Mondejar, Taos, NM
  41. Noah Strycker, Creswell, OR
  42. Markus Piha, Helsinki, Finland
  43. Daniele Mitchell, Ottawa, Ontario
  44. Richard Garrigues, San Antonio de Belen, Heredia, Costa Rica
  45. Patty Rose, Juneau, AK
  46. Kent Fothergill, Buhl, ID
  47. Jason Beason, Paonia, CO
  48. George Cresswell, Colorado Springs, CO
  49. Jan Maitland, Red Oak, TX
  50. Sandra Keller, Barrington, NJ
  51. Blake Mathys, Rutgers U., NJ
  52. Marlo Kauffman, Goshen, IN
  53. Petro Pynnönen, Helsinki, Finland
  54. Olivier Barden, Sainte-Foy, Quebec
  55. Jim Hoover, Jefferson Hills, PA
  56. Jay Keller, Arlington, VA
  57. John Bissell, Grimes, Iowa
  58. Susannah B. Lerman, Keene, NH
  59. Aaron Boone, Columbus, OH
  60. Richard Shaw, Ogden, UT
  61. Orrin Harvey, Tucson, AZ
  62. John Daugherty, McFarland, WI
  63. Matt Pike, Lacey, WA
  64. Eva Pratt, Inman, SC
  65. Matthew Toomey, Orwell, VT
  66. Raymond VanBuskirk, Albuquerque, NM
  67. Robert Doster, Albuquerque, NM
  68. Bertram Ernest Brian BREE, Grouville, Jersey, Channel Isles near France
  69. Maggie MacPherson, Haileybury, ON
  70. Larry Ridenhour, Boise, ID
  71. Stephen Seiffert, Lansdowne, Ontario, Canada
  72. Craig Bateman, Novi, MI
  73. Andres Alfaro, Kansas City, MO
  74. Chris Litherland, Kingwood, TX
  75. Robert Furrow, Cambridge, MA
  76. Jorge Enrique Parra Bastos, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia
  77. Jo Hughes, Kamloops, BC, Canada
  78. Craig D. Dodson, Clifton, CO
  79. Larry Kline, Woodbridge, VA
  80. Charles Carlson, Fort Peck MT
  81. Jacob Ott, White Sulphur Springs, WV
  82. John Blok, Kalamazoo, MI
  83. Wendy Green, Grand Forks, ND
  84. Dan Green, Grand Forks, ND
  85. Lee Barnes, Seattle, WA
  86. Michael Woodruff, Spokane, WA
  87. Mark Stevenson, Tucson, AZ
  88. Jill Kaminski, Naples, FL
  89. Drew Weber, Reading, PA
  90. Seabrooke Leckie, Toronto, Ontario
  91. Tom Benson, San Bernardino, CA
  92. Karen Rubinstein, New York, NY
  93. Matthew Williams, Provo, UT
  94. Jim Mountjoy, Galesburg IL
  95. David A. Brinkman, Cincinnati, OH
  96. Josh Southern, Greenville, NC
  97. Linda Christenson, Troutville, VA
  98. Casey Tucker, Columbus, OH
  99. Joan Campbell, Marinette, WI
  100. Keith Christenson, Falls Church, VA
  101. Alex Vinokur, Casselberry, FL
  102. John Yerger, State College, PA
  103. Jim Kopitzke, Mesa, AZ
  104. Patty Gates, Brooklyn, NY
  105. Dan Seman, Thompson, OH
  106. Luke Seitz, Falmouth, ME
  107. Greg Gillson, Cornelius, OR
  108. Catherine Bell, San Francisco, CA
  109. Jon Atwood, Keene, NH
  110. Kevin M. Kincaid, Indianapolis, IN
  111. Cat Foster, Bolivar, MO
  112. Ellen Beck, Broussard, LA
  113. Michael S. Levy, Centereach, NY
  114. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, OR
  115. Liis Veelma, Winnipeg, MB
  116. Joel Kits, Guelph, ON
  117. James McKay, Mesa, AZ
  118. Karen Carlsen, Lakewood, CO
  119. Harry Hooper, Tallahassee, FL
  120. Myles Falconer, Perth, ON
  121. Gerard Koehn, Colorado Springs, CO
  122. Dave Magpiong, Belmawr, NJ
  123. Quinton Nice, Willamina, OR
  124. Jim Hulsey, Henderson, NV
  125. Jonathan Panek, Harvard, MA
  126. Aaron Hulsey, Smiths Grove, KY
  127. Moretta Frederick, Victoria, BC, Canada
  128. Tony Clements, Vienna, VA
  129. Michael E. Peterson, Kissimmee, FL
  130. Ryan Beaulieu, Los Lunas, NM
  131. Marcia L. Brehmer, Columbus, OH
  132. Ben Young, Salem, OR
  133. Ed Harper, Sacramento, CA
  134. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, OR
  135. Philip M Ware, Dayton, OH
  136. David Moore, Houston, TX
  137. Mike Patterson, Astoria, OR
  138. Martha Wellman, Tallahassee FL
  139. Blair Wolf, Albuqueruqe, NM
  140. John Cecil, Wyndmoor, PA
  141. Ryan Dziedzic, Mt. Pleasant, MI
  142. Brandon Percival, Pueblo West, CO
  143. Mark Peterson, Colorado Springs, CO
  144. Jason Giovannone, South Carolina
  145. Brian E. Small, Los Angeles, CA
  146. Kara Lewantowicz, Colorado Springs, CO
  147. Philip Chaon, Cleveland, OH
  148. Bill Maynard, Monument, CO
  149. Filip Beeldens, Antwerpen, Belgium
  150. James McRacken, Charlotte, NC
  151. William Funk, Staunton, VA
  152. Barb Robertson, Canada
  153. Benjamin Kyle Griffon, Richmond, VA
  154. Pierre Goulet, Moncton, New Brunswick
  155. Raymond Belding, CT
  156. Nathan Farnau, Mystic, CT
  157. Ryan Dudragne, Swift Current, Saskatchewan
  158. Mary Walsh, Valencia, CA
  159. Tim McFadden, Philadelphia, PA
  160. Amy St. Pierre, Kelly, WY
  161. Kenneth Levenstein, Jonesboro, AR
  162. Curtis Hoagland, Beaumont, TX
  163. Linda Swanson, Napa, CA
  164. Rich Swartzentruber, Salem, OR
  165. Katie Gates, Sherwood, OR
  166. Travis Rosenberry, Boise, ID
  167. David Crisman, Tigard, OR
  168. Kevin Hill, Seattle, WA
  169. Samuel Socolar, Chapel Hill, NC
  170. Radd Icenoggle, Bozeman, MT
  171. Kristin Sasser, Sanford, NC
  172. Erah J. Tilton, San Jose, CA
  173. Melissa Hein, North Branch, MN

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.

Brown Booby
Blue-footed Booby
Northern Gannet
Red-footed Booby
Pink-footed Shearwater
Common Murre
Little Shearwater
Masked Booby


The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Chris Wood.