ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 53


Bird Photo

Apparently this quiz was too easy! Typically drab brown birds sitting on the ground present identification challenges—but not for most of you!

The overall color and habit of this bird suggest that it is likely a sparrow, bunting, longspur or pipit of some kind. We can see that the bill appears relatively slim, not thick like most sparrows and buntings. This bill shape should bring to mind larks and pipits. The upperparts appear relatively dark with some pale lines running down the back. Juvenile Horned Larks, which are mistaken for a lot of things, have longer primaries than our bird, the central tail feathers are pale and the legs are usually dark.

This leaves us with the pipits, a challenging group that could certainly cause some headaches. American Pipits have generally unstreaked upperparts quite unlike out bird. Before we dive into the Asian pipits, it makes sense to consider the other "American" pipit—Sprague's Pipit. The pale legs, short primary projection, plain face with a paler suggestion of an eye ring all fit Sprague's Pipit quite well. Now, if only this bird were flying high overhead singing!

This male Sprague's Pipit was photographed in central North Dakota in June 2007.


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the August Bird Photo Quiz—Sprague's Pipit:

  1. Steven Mitten, Belize City, Belize
  2. Joshua Gahagan, Oakham, MA
  3. Terri Everett, Big Rapids, MI
  4. Jim Mountjoy, Galesburg IL
  5. Adam Nisbett, Saint James, MO
  6. Liis Veelma, Winnipeg, MB
  7. Karl Erich Mayer, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  8. Philip Kline, Tucson, Az
  9. Rob Lane, Chandler, AZ
  10. David Tyrer, Ottawa, Ontario. Canada
  11. Katherine Ross, San Francisco, CA
  12. Chris Warren, Portland, OR
  13. Joshua Covill, Columbia Falls, MT
  14. John Bissell, Grimes, IA
  15. Thomas Snetsinger, Brownsville, OR
  16. Nigel Bates, Hopewell, NJ
  17. Randy Mehoves, St. Cloud, MN
  18. Nathan Swick, Chapel Hill, NC
  19. Jon Atwood, Keene, NH
  20. Bret McCarty, Lakewood, Ohio
  21. Laura Coble, Cannon Falls, MN
  22. Jill Kaminski, Naples, FL
  23. Szilard J. Daroczi, Tg.-Mures, Romania
  24. Brendan Fogarty, Nassau, NY
  25. Larry Kline, Fredericksburg, VA
  26. Nell Haberman, Portland, Oregon
  27. Tim Hochstetler, Millersburg OH
  28. Brian McAllister, Saranac Lake, NY
  29. Clark Rushing, Boulder, CO
  30. Diana Doyle, Minneapolis, MN
  31. Thomas Lechleitner, Fort Lupton, Colorado
  32. Brian E. Small, Los Angeles, CA
  33. Ryan Dudragne, Swift Current, SK
  34. Tom Auer, Allouez, MI
  35. Mike Wasilco, Scottsville, NY
  36. Richard Garrigues, San Antonio de Belen, Heredia, Costa Rica
  37. Aaron Boone, Columbus, Ohio
  38. Elaine MacPherson, Sierra Madre CA
  39. Aaron R. Polichar, San Diego, CA
  40. John Breitsch, Denver, Colorado
  41. Ian Davies, Medford, MA
  42. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  43. Celestyn Brozek, Albuquerque, NM
  44. David Bell, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
  45. kurt Pohlman, kaneohe Hi.
  46. Owen McMurtrey, Chicago, IL
  47. Cinda Crosley, Pflugerville, TX
  48. Michael S. Levy, Centereach, N.Y.
  49. Joren Husic, Kunkletown, PA
  50. Louis Celenza, St. James, NY
  51. Wayne Meyer, Denison, TX
  52. Matt Baumann, Albuquerque,New Mexico
  53. John Garrett, Pasadena, CA
  54. Larry Lade, Saint Joseph, MO
  55. Aaron Hulsey, Smiths Grove, Ky
  56. Aaron Bilyeu, Placerville, CA
  57. Chris Woods, Toronto, Ontario
  58. Andy Bankert, Melbourne Beach, FL
  59. David Rosenbaum, Waco, TX
  60. Neil Gilbert, Orange, CA
  61. Scott Kaplan, Peabody, MA
  62. George Cresswell, Colorado Springs, CO
  63. James McKay, Mesa, AZ
  64. Jason Beason, Paonia, CO
  65. Michael Bender, Athens, GA
  66. Michael Bowen, Bethesda, MD
  67. Tim Hodge, Roseland, VA
  68. John Kuenzli, Columbus, OH
  69. Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA
  70. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, Oregon
  71. Steve Arlow, Rochford, Essex, UK
  72. Henry Wilton, Rutland, VT
  73. Erica Sanders, Aiken, SC
  74. Marc Ribaudo, Woodbridge, VA
  75. Thomas Hall, Livermore, CO
  76. David Haskell, Sewanee, TN
  77. Mike Rippey, Napa, CA
  78. Larry Therrien, Belchertown, MA
  79. Marcelo Brongo, Barcelona, Spain
  80. Ben Coulter, Erie, PA
  81. Alan Dupuis, Cambridge, NY
  82. Michael Woodruff, Spokane, WA
  83. Jeff Birek, Fresno, CA
  84. Paul Nolan, Charleston, SC
  85. Greg Swick, Ozark, Missouri
  86. Richard R. Eakin, Guys Mills, PA
  87. Noah Gaines, La Jolla, CA
  88. dawna foreman, waitsfield, vt
  89. Su Snyder, Wooster, OH
  90. Susan Harwood, Bethpage, N.Y.
  91. Charles Rossa, Manassas, Va
  92. Jonathan Comeau, Williston, VT
  93. Matt Yawney, Chelsea, MI
  94. Marlene Jay Cashen, Veradale, Washington
  95. Jonathan DeBalko, Wilkes-Barre, PA
  96. Justin Bosler, Baton Rouge, LA
  97. Lowell Young, Mariposa, CA
  98. John Dillon, Homer, LA
  99. Rick Poulin, Ottawa, Ontario
  100. Myles Falconer, Lakefield, ON
  101. Eric Antonio Mtz, Oaxaca, Mexico
  102. Luke Seitz, Falmouth, Maine
  103. Chris Burney, Lakeland, FL
  104. Phil Chaon, Cleveland Hts, OH
  105. Jim Kopitzke, Mesa AZ
  106. Karen Rubinstein, New York, NY
  107. Steve Steimel, Severna Park, MD.
  108. Sandra Lautrup, Effingham, Illinois
  109. Robert Packard, Riverside, CA
  110. Glen Lindeman, Salem, OR
  111. Nancy E. Hetrick, Albuquerque, NM
  112. Ben Loehnen, New York, NY
  113. Julie Cocke, Jacksonville, FL
  114. Blake Mathys, Milltown, NJ
  115. Julian Aver, New Brunswick, NJ
  116. Alex Ewing, Rocky Hill, NJ
  117. Sarah Gross, Canandaigua, NY
  118. James P. Smith, Amherst, MA
  119. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, OR
  120. Julia Marko Dunn, Newmarket, Ontario
  121. Sam Burckhardt, Chicago, IL
  122. Angie Langie, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  123. Sarah J. Zastrow, Riverdale Park, MD
  124. Kathy Brodhead, Vancouver, BC
  125. Rich Swartzentruber, Salem, Oregon

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.

Sprague's Pipit
Sky Lark
Chestnut-collared Longspur
Vesper Sparrow
Baird's Sparrrow
Lark Sparrow
Eastern Meadowlark
Grasshopper Sparrow
House Finch
Cactus Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Horned Lark
Least Bittern
McCown's Longspur
Mountain Plover
Northern Bobwhite
Pechora Pipit
Purple Finch
Purple Sandpiper
Red-throated Pipit
Red-winged Blackbird
Smith's Longspur
Western Meadowlark
Wild Turkey


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