ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 56


Bird Photo

The overall structure and gray and white plumage of this bird should suggest that we are dealing with a small gull or tern. It's difficult to make out much of the bill, but from what we can see the bill appears fairly thin and black (at least black at the tip). This may lead us to consider terns, but terns should show more pointed wings. Furthermore, the large white tips to the outermost two primaries combined with the overall coloration don't fit any species of tern. This leaves us with several small gulls. The most frequently encountered small gull in most of our region is Bonaparte's Gull. But adults and second-cycle birds have extensive white on the leading edge of the primaries and black trailing edge to the primaries. Black-headed Gull can be eliminated for the same reason. The pale upperparts and broad white trailing edge to the secondaries may call to mind Ross's Gull, but on Ross's Gull the white is limited to the secondaries and inner primaries. The tail also does not appear as graduated, or wedge-shaped, as a Ross's Gull. This leaves us with Little Gull. The broad white trailing edge contrasting with pale gray upperparts is a classic Little Gull field mark. While adults have a completely white trailing edge to the secondaries and primaries, this is often interrupted with black on second-cycle birds. Also note the overall structure of our bird—compared to a Bonaparte's Gull, note this individual's relatively short rounded wings and pudgy body.

This second-cycle Little Gull was photographed in Tompkins County, New York in March 2007.


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the November Bird Photo Quiz—Little Gull:

  1. Marcelo Brongo, Barcelona, Spain
  2. Brandon Percival, Pueblo West, CO
  3. Kevin Kerr, Guelph, ON
  4. Aaron Hulsey, Smiths Grove, Ky
  5. Andy Johnson, Ann Arbor, MI
  6. David Bell, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
  7. Alan Dupuis, Cambridge, NY
  8. Lauren B, St Petersburg, FL
  9. Graham Etherington, Norwich, UK
  10. Aaron Bilyeu, Placerville, CA
  11. Amy St.Pierre, Kelly, WY
  12. Terri Everett, Big Rapids, MI
  13. Petro Pynnönen, Helsinki, Finland
  14. Matt Yawney, Chelsea, MI
  15. James P. Smith, Amherst, MA
  16. Jim Mountjoy, Galesburg IL
  17. Gerald J Brow, Cedar Michigan
  18. Sarah J. Zastrow, Riverdale, MD
  19. Philip Kline, Tucson, AZ
  20. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  21. Nathan Swick, Chapel Hill, NC
  22. Tim Hochstetler, Millersburg OH
  23. Mark Rosenstein, Cambridge, MA
  24. Jerry Jourdan, Wyandotte, MI
  25. Matt Baumann, ABQ,NM
  26. Thomas Snetsinger, Brownsville, OR
  27. Brad Wilkinson, Tallmadge, OH
  28. Richard Garrigues, San Antonio de Belen, Heredia, Costa Rica
  29. Travis A. Mahan, Decatur, Illinois
  30. Liis Veelma, Winnipeg MB
  31. Kara Lewantowicz, Colorado Springs, CO
  32. Stephen Joly, Kamloops, BC
  33. Szilard J. Daroczi, Tg.-Mures, Romania
  34. Joshua Covill, Columbia Falls, MT
  35. Steve McNamee, Toledo, OH
  36. Claude Auchu, La Pocatière, Québec
  37. Owen McMurtrey, Chicago, IL
  38. Karl Erich Mayer, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  39. Pam Baum, Tucson, AZ
  40. Benoit Dorion, Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada
  41. Avery Bartels, Nelson, BC
  42. Bill Maynard, Colorado Springs, CO
  43. Robert Mottershead, Philadelphia, PA
  44. Phil Crisp, Winston-Salem, NC
  45. Malkolm Boothroyd, Whitehorse, Yukon
  46. Su Snyder, Wooster, OH
  47. lee Barnes, Seattle, WA
  48. wendy boothroyd, Whitehorse, Yukon
  49. John Bissell, Grimes, IA
  50. Thomas Lechleitner, Fort Lupton, CO
  51. Aaron Boone, Columbus, Ohio
  52. Evan Dalton, Kingston, MA
  53. Matt Pike, Lacey WA
  54. Jon Atwood, Keene, NH
  55. George Cresswell, Colorado Springs, CO
  56. Bennet Porter, Falmouth, MA
  57. Thomas Hall, Livermore, Colorado
  58. Joel Mundall, Loma Linda, CA
  59. Alex Ewing, Rocky Hill, NJ
  60. Ben Loehnen, New York, NY
  61. Jim Kopitzke, Mesa AZ
  62. Joseph Lautenbach, Grand Rapids, MI
  63. Ben Young, Kalispell, MT
  64. Larry Therrien, Belchertown, MA
  65. Anthony H. Bledsoe, Pittsburgh, PA
  66. Greg Schrott, Sebring, FL
  67. Rob Lane, Chandler, AZ
  68. Nell Haberman, Portland, Oregon
  69. Dominic Cormier, Halifax, N.S
  70. Robert Furrow, Somerville, MA
  71. Joshua Watson, Gainesville, FL
  72. Gary Herbert, Rochester, New York
  73. Brendan Fogarty, Long Island, NY
  74. Andy Jones, Cleveland Heights, OH
  75. Paul Fusco, Mpls, MN
  76. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, Oregon
  77. Ian Davies, Medford, MA
  78. Sean Williams, Boston, MA
  79. John Hammond, Durham, NC
  80. Urs Geiser, Woodridge, Illinois
  81. Ryan Phillips, Santa Cruz
  82. Jason Pietrzak, Logan, UT
  83. Alex Dopp, Ann Arbor, MI
  84. Thomas Hopkins, St. Petersburg, FL
  85. Phil Chaon, Cleveland, OH
  86. Sam Koenen, Bozeman, MT
  87. Jonathan Comeau, Williston, VT
  88. Angie Hardesty, Bowling Green, KY
  89. David Haskell, Sewanee, TN
  90. Sam Burckhardt, Chicago, IL
  91. Rick Poulin, Ottawa, Ontario
  92. Richard Jeffers, Santa Clara, CA
  93. Jim McCarty, Lakewood, Ohio
  94. Patrick Belardo, Piscataway, NJ
  95. Shane Blodgett, Brooklyn NY
  96. Greg Neise, Chicago, IL
  97. Steven Mitten, Belize City, Belize
  98. Greg Gillson, Hillsboro, OR
  99. Steve Arlow, Rochford, Essex, England
  100. Robert Doster, Albuquerque, NM
  101. Brendan Collins, New Haven, VT
  102. James McKay, Mesa, AZ
  103. Michael Lester, Haworth, NJ
  104. Jeremy Medina, Tucson, AZ
  105. Al Guarente, Media, Pa
  106. Eric Huston, Tumwater, WA
  107. Ed Harper, Sacramento, CA
  108. Robert Packard, Riverside, CA
  109. Caleb Dunn, McAllen, Texas
  110. Travis Cooper, San Diego, Ca
  111. Glenn L. Werner, Beaufort, S.C.
  112. Harry Hooper, Tallahassee, Florida
  113. Adrian Azpiroz, St. Louis, MO
  114. Jason Giovannone, Columbia, SC
  115. Georgia Conti, Seattle, WA
  116. Eddie Mundall, Yreka, CA
  117. Jim Fitzpatrick, Hastings, MN
  118. Rob Fergus, Perkasie, PA
  119. Eleanor Proctor, Peterborough, Ontario
  120. Kathy Dawson, Laverne, Oklahoma
  121. Mark Brown, Iowa City, IA
  122. Alan J. Knue, Seattle, WA
  123. Steve Steimel, Severna Park, Md
  124. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, OR
  125. Marlene Jay Cashen, Veradale, Washington
  126. Paul Whiteman, London U.K.
  127. Michael Woodruff, Spokane, WA
  128. Christopher Ciccone, Woburn, MA
  129. Seth Cutright, West Bend, Wisconsin
  130. Lowell Young, Mariposa, CA
  131. Barb Duncan, Jefferson City, MO
  132. John Gluth, Brentwood, NY
  133. Charles Rossa, Manassas, Va
  134. Blake Mathys, Milltown, NJ
  135. Lois Lindsay, Frankford WV
  136. Myles Falconer, Lakefield, ONTARIO
  137. 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.

Little Gull
Ross's Gull
Iceland Gull
White-winged Tern
Bonaparte's Gull
Franklin's Gull
Gull-billed Tern
Ivory Gull
Black-legged Kittiwake
Glaucous-winged Gull
Thayer's Gull
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Laughing Gull
Red-Legged Kittiwake
Royal Tern
Sandwich Tern


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