ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 25


Bird Photo

April has you on a grand tour of North America visiting a different grouse lek each day. The only downside is that all the early mornings and long drives (and perhaps a bit too much celebration last night for your latest lifer) has you feeling a bit discombobulated this morning. In fact, all you can remember is that you drove to some lek where you spent the night. Now these two birds are walking around, but what are they? Range is a great way to identify grouse, but you have no idea where you are. Now what?

Luckily it's not difficult to figure out that you are looking at some kind of grouse. Even a superficial glance reveals extensive barring on the underparts, which only fits the two Prairie-Chickens. The only other member of the genus Tympanuchus (Sharp-tailed Grouse) has underparts that are scaled and spotted not barred. Ptarmigan have a much more mottled appearance to the underparts with irregular bars unlike our birds. They also have white wings and lack the elongated neck feathers (pinnae) visible on these two birds.

Note here that the barring on the underparts is extensive, relatively uniform and widely spaced-just as we would expect in Greater Prairie Chicken. While these birds are on the pale end of Greater Prairie-Chickens, they are not at all unusual. While pale, this appearance affects the upperparts and all the underparts evenly (meaning that the upperparts and upperparts are equally pale compared to a "classic" Greater Prairie-Chicken). By contrast, Lesser Prairie-Chickens have paler barring that is most noticeable on the central belly. The upperparts of Lesser Prairie-Chicken also much more finely barred with the narrow black barring on the upperparts-quite different from the broad bars visible on the upperparts of this bird.

If you're still not quite convinced, that's okay. Take out your GPS and see that it's early April, and you are in northeastern Colorado at a Greater Prairie-Chicken lek north of Wray, Colorado. (The range of Lesser and Greater Prairie-Chickens comes very close in central Kansas and Oklahoma, but does not overlap.)


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the April Bird Photo Quiz—Greater Prairie-Chicken:

  1. Bill Schmoker, Longmont, CO
  2. Bill Maynard, Monument CO
  3. Kyle Horner, Guelph, Ontario
  4. Caity Reiland-Smith, Sioux Falls, SD
  5. Lyn Gebhart, Middletown, DE
  6. Michael Lester, Haworth, NJ
  7. Kevin Kearns, Neenah, WI
  8. Michele Swartout, Red Bluff, CA
  9. Matt Pike, Lacey WA
  10. Larry Lade, Saint Joseph, MO
  11. Larry Kline, Woodbridge, VA
  12. Alan Rose, Cowpens, SC
  13. Melissa Hein, North Branch, MN
  14. Angie Sawyer, Longridge UK
  15. Maggie MacPherson, Haileybury, ON
  16. Sandra Menzel, Santa Cruz, CA
  17. Patrick Dechon, Ellenville, NY
  18. Dave Worthington, Toronto, Ontario
  19. Nels F. Thompson, Owatonna, MN
  20. L. Schwitters, Issaquah, WA
  21. Jim Hulsey, Henderson, NV
  22. Aaron Boone, Columbus, OH
  23. Robert Lengacher, Tallahassee, FL
  24. Lori Fujimoto, Colorado Springs, CO
  25. Peg Alig, Breckenridge, CO
  26. Karen Rubinstein, New York, NY
  27. Jerry Jourdan, Wyandotte, MI
  28. Murray D. Hansen, Graham, WA
  29. George Cresswell, Colorado Springs, CO
  30. Dorleen McBride, Ukiah, CA
  31. Jason Sailing, Madison, WI
  32. Nathan Miller, Kingston, Ontario
  33. Steven Rodan, Cape May, NJ
  34. Rob Young, Alexandria, VA
  35. Bob Kortright, Toronto, Ontario
  36. Matt Baumann, Albuquerque, NM
  37. Kent Fothergill, Buhl, ID
  38. Blue Rubinstein, New York, NY
  39. Kramer Bookman, Peyton, CO
  40. Barb Robertson, Ottawa, On
  41. Michael S. Levy, Centereach, NY
  42. Nina Spencer, Atlanta, GA
  43. Jeff Lerner, Washington, DC
  44. Urs Geiser, Woodridge, IL
  45. Al Mercer, Marietta, GA
  46. Knut Eisermann, Guatemala
  47. Sam & Eva Pratt, Inman, SC
  48. Jennie MacFarland, Tucson, AZ
  49. Ryan Dudragne, Swift Current, Saskatchewan
  50. Mary Ann Dudragne, Swift Current, Saskatchewan
  51. Laurent Dudragne, Swift Current, Saskatchewan
  52. Don Burt, Anaheim, CA
  53. Stephen Seiffert, Lansdowne, Ontario, Canada
  54. Jared Caster, Hannibal NY
  55. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, OR
  56. José Luis Copete, Barcelona, Spain
  57. Penny Soares, Huntersville, NC
  58. Dave Magpiong, Bellmawr, NJ
  59. Michael Hilchey, Albuquerque, NM
  60. Chad Soard, Cincinnati, OH
  61. Raymond VanBuskirk, Albuquerque, NM
  62. Ryan Beaulieu, Los Lunas, NM
  63. Tim Avery, Beloit, WI
  64. Amanda Auger, Portland, OR
  65. Matthew Williams, Provo, UT
  66. Gerard Koehn, Colorado Springs, CO
  67. Jim Ross, Pleasanton, CA
  68. Debbie Statz, Greenville, NC
  69. Megumi Yoshihara, Indianapolis, IN
  70. Bonnie Reimer, Madison, WI
  71. Christopher Colby, York, PA
  72. Michael E Peterson, Kissimmee, FL
  73. Matthew Medler, Charlotte, VT
  74. Linda Schreiber, San Jose, CA
  75. Ken Young, Coquille, OR
  76. Filip Beeldens, Antwerpen, Belgium
  77. Henry Wilton, Rutland, VT
  78. Sophie Matthys, Manitou Springs, CO
  79. Matt Anthony, Bel Air, MD
  80. Joan Campbell, Marinette, WI
  81. Blake Matheson, Carmel, CA
  82. Chris Langman, Media, PA
  83. Cindy Hollie, Ringgold, GA
  84. Amy Dreibelbis, Media, PA
  85. Arun Bose, Richmond, VA
  86. Bryce L. Marshall, Flagstaff, AZ
  87. Liis Veelma, Winnipeg, MB
  88. Steve Carbol, Naples, FL
  89. James Cole, Carmel, IN
  90. Nancy Govan, Norton Shores, MI
  91. Charlie Weaver, Kalkaska, MI
  92. Ben Young, Salem, OR
  93. Jason Beason, Paonia, CO
  94. Jim Wood, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  95. Peter Dedicoat, Stafford, UK
  96. Sean Prockter, South Salem, NY
  97. Adrian Azpiroz, St. Louis, MO
  98. Josiah Malueg, Hooper, CO
  99. Kalen Malueg, Hooper, CO
  100. Micah Malueg, Hooper, CO
  101. Jay Bolden, Indianapolis, IN
  102. Douglas W. Gray, Indianapolis, IN
  103. Ed Talbott, Grundy, VA
  104. Nancy C Brown, Hermiston, OR
  105. Caroline Spencer, St Petersburg, FL
  106. Rich Swartzentruber, Salem, OR
  107. Julie Zuckerman, Plano, TX
  108. Aaron Polichar, San Diego, CA
  109. Joy Bower, Hammond, IN
  110. Laurina Mundall, Klamath Falls, OR
  111. Jon Mundall, Connell, WA
  112. Bertram.E.B.Bree, Jersey island, Chanel Isles near France

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.

Lesser Prairie-Chicken
Greater Prairie-Chicken
Sharp-tailed Grouse
Spruce Grouse
Willow Ptarmigan


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