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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:
The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.
The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Chris Wood.