ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 34


Bird Photo

Well, we waited until the 34th photo quiz to introduce our first gull. And given the number of correct responses, apparently we chose one that wasn't exceptionally difficult.

When dealing with a gull, the first thing to do is to age it. When taken in concert, the extensively brownish colored underwing, dirty underparts, patterned undertail coverts, black tail band and uniformly black bill suggest that we are dealing with a first-cycle bird. Perhaps some birds just entering their second cycle-birds could retain this all dark bill and have a similar plumage (but at least from this angle we see no hint of second-cycle feathers, indeed it appears as thought the bird may still be entirely in juvenal plumage).

At this point, size and structure become important clues. Since there are no birds for comparison, it's hard to judge for certain, but the bird seems large. Less subjective, is the large bill that expands at the gonys. This may call to mind a very large Herring Gull, Western Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, and Kelp Gull.

The other striking feature about this individual is the distal tail band, which is narrow compared to what one would expect with North American Herring Gulls, Western Gull and Kelp Gull. This pattern is typical of what one would expect on a first-cycle Great Black-backed Gull. The fairly white head and underparts with relatively sparse mottling and streaking are also typical of Great Black-backed Gull.

This first-cycle Great Black-backed Gull was photographed by the author at Massachusetts in late December 2005.


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the January Bird Photo Quiz—Great Black-backed Gull:

  1. Steven Mitten, Belize City, Belize
  2. Stephanie Smith, Lansing, MI
  3. Mark Brown, Dalmatia, Pa
  4. crystal malick, dalmtia,pa
  5. Jason Waanders, Washington, DC
  6. Thomas Lally, Chicago, IL
  7. Maggie MacPherson, Guelph, ON
  8. Mike Boyd, Oakville, Ontario
  9. Cathy Carroll, Dearborn, Michigan
  10. Ben Coulter, Erie, PA
  11. Richard Hibpshman, Issaquah, WA
  12. Kyle Horner, Guelph, Ontario
  13. Stephen Joly, Kamloops, BC
  14. Macy Brown, Leander, TX
  15. Marcel Gauthier, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC, Canada
  16. Seabrooke, Toronto, Ontario
  17. Justin Bosler, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  18. Mary Covello, Bolton CT
  19. Mark Chao, Ithaca, NY
  20. rob young, alexandria, VA
  21. John Bissell, Grimes, Iowa
  22. Chad Heins, Mankato, MN
  23. Jay McEntee, Berkeley, CA
  24. Enrique Zamora, Ensenada, Baja California
  25. Sherry Punak-Murphy, Shilo, Manitoba, Canada
  26. Marg Partridge, wilson, NY
  27. Chantel Melgarejo, Laurel Hollow, NY
  28. jerome wood, Huntington NY
  29. Kelly Solinger, Syosset, New York
  30. Bill Maynard, Colorado Springs, CO
  31. Philip Kline, Tucson, AZ
  32. Nathan Swick, Chapel Hill, NC
  33. Will Richardson, Truckee, CA
  34. Christiana Wood, Suitland, Maryland
  35. Colin Gjervold, St Petersburg, FL
  36. Ben Young, Salem, OR
  37. Rob Fowler, Arcata, CA
  38. Ben Meadors, North Little Rock, AR
  39. Marcelo Brongo, Barcelona, Spain
  40. Christopher Colby, York, PA
  41. Jason Beason, Paonia, CO
  42. Lee Barnes, Seattle, WA
  43. Alex Lin-Moore, Houston, TX
  44. Hannah Kistler, Newton Falls, OH
  45. Richard Garrigues, San Antonio de Belen, Heredia, Costa Rica
  46. Janice St.Jean, Chepachet, RI
  47. Shaun Hicks, Morrisville, PA
  48. Matthew Williams, Provo, UT
  49. Bruce Dugger, Albany, OR
  50. Marc Ribaudo, Woodgridge, VA
  51. Kevin M. Kincaid, Indianapolis, IN
  52. Kevin Hill, Seattle, WA
  53. Patrick Dockens, Mesa, Arizona
  54. Lauren Franko, Piscataway, NJ
  55. Matt Baumann, Abq,NM
  56. Laurence Schorsch, Evanston, IL
  57. Mary Chambers, Davis, CA
  58. kai reed, putney VT.
  59. Marcia Huff, Holland, MI
  60. Carrie Braden, Portage la Prairie, MB
  61. Barb Duncan, Jefferson City, MO
  62. J E Duncan, Boyce, LA
  63. Michael S. Levy, Centereach, N.Y.
  64. Clive Bramham, Bergen, Norway
  65. Luke Seitz, Falmouth, Maine
  66. Matt Pike, Lacey WA
  67. Tony Leukering, Brighton, CO
  68. Alan J. Knue, Seattle, WA
  69. Alex Vinokur, Casselberry, FL
  70. George Cresswell, Colorado Springs, CO
  71. José Luis Copete, Barcelona, Spain
  72. Jack Gibbons, Galena, IL
  73. Barb Robertson, Ottawa, Onario, Canada
  74. Ben Walters, Port Hope, Ontario
  75. Jeremy Faucher, Enfield Ct
  76. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  77. Nick Anich, Ashland, WI
  78. katherine Raspet, brooklyn, ny
  79. Graham Etherington, Norwich, UK
  80. Johanna Wielfaert, East Lansing, MI
  81. Casey Tucker, Columbus, OH
  82. Aaron Boone, Columbus, Ohio
  83. Zack Barrow, McDonald, TN
  84. Andy Bankert, Melbourne Beach, FL
  85. nell haberman, portland, Oregon
  86. Wes Serafin, orland park ,il
  87. Pierre Goulet, Wolfville, NS
  88. Nels F. Thompson, Owatonna, MN
  89. Arun Bose, Richmond, VA
  90. Ed Harper, Sacramento, CA 95841
  91. Tom Benson, San Bernardino, CA
  92. Ann Mcdonald, Calgary, Alberta
  93. Brian Ahern, Tampa, FL.
  94. Sarah DeViney, Jonesboro, AR
  95. Monte, Tustin, CA
  96. Tim Kalbach, Lexington, SC
  97. Cynthia Taylor, Tucson, AZ
  98. Melissa Hein, North Branch, MN
  99. Bill Schmoker, Longmont, Colorado
  100. Joan Campbell, Marinette, WI 54143
  101. Claire Curry, Greenwood, Texas
  102. Travis A. Mahan, Decatur, IL
  103. Jeff Hole, Orlando, FL
  104. Stephen Seiffert, Lansdowne, Ontario Canada
  105. Andrew Keaveney, Guelph, ON, Canada
  106. Jim Hulsey, Henderson, NV
  107. Roxanne Clark, Eugene, OR
  108. Manolo Mondejar, Taos,NM
  109. Kevin Welsh, Novi, Michigan
  110. Orrin Harvey, Tucson, AZ
  111. Jared Caster, Fulton NY
  112. Chase Choate, Wellpinit, WA
  113. Seth Cutright, West Bend, WI
  114. Petro Pynnönen, Helsinki, Finland
  115. Robert Mottershead, Philadelphia, PA
  116. Sam Galick, Flemington, NJ
  117. David Hollie, Ringgold, GA
  118. Jason McGuire, London, ON
  119. Roberto Cavalieros, Brooklyn, NY
  120. Francisco Martinez, Chicago, IL
  121. Kevin Kerr, Guelph, Ont
  122. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, OR
  123. Ben Wechsler, Snow Hill, Maryland
  124. Ethan Kistler, Newton Falls, Ohio
  125. Sandra Keller, Barrington, NJ
  126. Michael Woodruff, Spokane, WA
  127. Mike Burrell, Heidelberg, Ontario
  128. Phillip J. Kenny, Vienna, VA
  129. Andrew Sigerson, Sussex, NJ
  130. Myles Falconer, Peterborough, Ontario
  131. Sandra Lautrup, Effingham, Illinois
  132. Karl E. Mayer, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  133. Nicolas Halle, St-Nicolas,Quebec,Canada
  134. Gabe Johnson, Cherry Hill, NJ
  135. Seth Miller, Petaluma, CA
  136. David C. Smith, Owings Mills, MD
  137. Rob Poniatowski, Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan
  138. David M Elwonger, Colorado Springs CO
  139. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, Oregon
  140. Rich Swartzentruber, Salem, Oregon
  141. Dan williams, Roseville, CA
  142. Karen Rubinstein, New York, NY
  143. Jacque Riese, Lincoln, NE
  144. Bryan Patrick, Woodland Park, CO
  145. James P. Smith, Amherst, MA
  146. Jim Gilbert, Bernardsville, NJ
  147. Francesc Jutglar, Cardedeu, Catalonia
  148. Robert Lengacher, Tallahassee, FL
  149. Harry Hooper, Tallahassee, Florida
  150. John Keagle, Hickory Corners, MI
  151. Carol Perry, Las Vegas, NV
  152. Marcus Mundall, Williamsport, MD
  153. Susannah Lerman, Amherst, MA
  154. Suzanne Feustel, Babylon, New York
  155. Lori Fujimoto, Colorado Springs, CO
  156. Elise Becker, Colorado Springs, CO
  157. Michael Mayer, Flushing, NY
  158. James McKay, Mesa, AZ
  159. Gary Bird, Maxeys, GA
  160. Robert Doster, Albuquerque, NM
  161. Corey Plank, Portland, OR
  162. Blue Rubinstein, New York, NY
  163. Charles Carlson, Ft. Peck MT
  164. James Lerner, Huntington, New York
  165. Steve Matthews, Cold Spring Harbor, NY
  166. Joe LoCicero, Huntington, New York
  167. Blake Mathys, New Brunswick, NJ
  168. Tim Hochstetler, Millersburg, OH
  169. Jim Kopitzke, Mesa AZ
  170. Liis Veelma, Winnipeg, MB
  171. Geoffrey A. Williamson, Chicago, IL
  172. Matt Anthony, Bel Air, MD
  173. Joel Mundall, Loma Linda, CA
  174. Craig Bateman, Novi, MI
  175. Dave Magpiong, Bellmawr, NJ
  176. Kyle Carlsen, Vincent, OH
  177. Glenn Werner, Beaufort S.C.
  178. Yves Gauthier, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  179. Eddie Mundall, Klamath Falls, OR
  180. Laurina Mundall, Klamath Falls, OR

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.

Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-Winged Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Thayer's Gull
Yellow-footed Gull
California Gull
Cory's Shearwater
Flesh-footed Shearwater
Glaucous Gull
Pink-footed Shearwater
Short-Tailed Shearwater
Slaty-backed Gull


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