ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 59


Bird Photo

There seems to be a lot of water in this month's picture and the water looks amazingly calm, considering that our quiz bird looks like one of those true seabirds, the procellariids. A quick glance at the bill is all we need to confirm that quick assessment, as our bird sports the typical "tube nose" of the order Procellariiformes. The specifics of that tube quickly eliminate the albatrosses, as those have separate tubes on the sides of the maxilla ("upper mandible") rather than both tubes lying on top of the bill. The combination of long wings and bill color rule out the storm-petrels (the Hydrobatidae), leaving us just the Procellariidae (the shearwaters and petrels) to consider.

Our bird's molting wings would certainly affect the bird's flight, making it atypical for the species, and this would be an important consideration, as expert seabirders use the specifics of flight style to identify (or, at least, to reduce the possibilities being considered to a smaller number) most seabirds at relatively long distance. However, since our static picture (no Harry Potter-esque moving pictures here!) prevents us from using that valuable information, it's a moot point. We will have to rely on field marks.

Our bird's pale bill rapidly reduces the number of options from a bewildering 28 to just six: Northern Fulmar and Flesh-footed, Pink-footed, Streaked, Cory's, and (recently-split) Cape Verde shearwaters. The whitish underparts removes from consideration the first of the shearwater options and the long and thin shape to the bill eliminates the thick-billed Northern Fulmar, as does our bird's apparent lack of pale inner primaries (which all white-bellied morphs of Northern Fulmar show). The quiz bird's dark head removes the accidental Streaked Shearwater from consideration.

Until the split of Cory's Shearwater (sensu lato) into Cory's (sensu stricto) and Cape Verde Shearwaters, we didn't usually have to use field marks to separate Cory's and Pink-footed Shearwaters, as the land masses of the Americas did that job for us – they occupy different oceans. As Cory's and Cape Verde are more like each other than either is to Pink-footed, let's deal with separating the two Atlantic Ocean species from the Pacific Ocean species (though, perhaps the flat water might suggest the "Pacific" – that's a joke).

The angle of the wings in the picture and the fact of the molting primaries reduces our confidence in determining the precise coloration and, particularly, pattern of the upperparts, which could certainly be of use. However, we can see the close (right) underwing quite well and should note the dirty, dusky underwings that are quite different from the typically bright white underwings of both Cory's and Cape Verde. Finally, our bird sports a pink bill, and the two Atlantic Ocean candidates do not—Cory's with a yellow bill and Cape Verde with a gray bill.

This Pink-footed Shearwater was photographed by Chris Wood.


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the February Bird Photo Quiz—Pink-footed Shearwater:

  1. Karl Erich Mayer, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  2. Greg Schrott, Sebring, FL
  3. John Murphy, Alligator Pt, Florida
  4. Nathan Swick, Chapel Hill, NC
  5. Brad Wilkinson, Tallmadge, OH
  6. Joshua Malueg, Hooper, Colorado
  7. Sam Burckhardt, Chicago, IL
  8. Rich Swartzentruber, Salem, Oregon
  9. Andy Johnson, Ann Arbor, MI
  10. kai reed, vermont
  11. Xinyu Zhu, Vancouver, BC
  12. Aaron Hulsey, Smiths Grove, Ky
  13. Kevin M Hill, Shoreline, WA
  14. Ian Davies, Medford, MA
  15. Kathryn Zimmerman, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  16. Kelly McKinne, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  17. Terri Everett, Big Rapids, MI
  18. Jacob Drucker, New York, NY
  19. Carolyn Mangeng, Los Alamos New Mexico
  20. Dale Spall, Los Alamos New Mexico
  21. Matt Pike, Lacey WA
  22. Mark Rosenstein, Cambridge, MA
  23. William Jones, Shropshire, England
  24. Ryan Phillips, San Jose, CA
  25. Tim Hodge, Roseland, VA
  26. Nels F. Thompson, Owatonna, MN
  27. Tom Halverstadt, Louviers,Co
  28. Steven Mitten, Belize City, Belize
  29. Sydney Bliss, NB
  30. Danny Boatman, Woodbury,MN
  31. beau schaefer, round lake beach, IL
  32. Joshua Covill, Columbia Falls, MT
  33. Vivian Gross, Kirkland, WA
  34. George F. Cresswell, Colorado Springs, CO
  35. A. Langie, Arcata,CA
  36. Randy Mehoves, Saint Cloud, MN
  37. Priscilla Lai, Guelph, Ontario
  38. Jonathan Comeau, Williston, VT
  39. Steve McNamee, Toledo, OH
  40. Nell Haberman, Portland, Oregon
  41. Rick Poulin, Ottawa. Ontario
  42. Greg Lawrence, Rochester, NY
  43. Bret McCarty, Lakewood, OH
  44. Tom Lally, Chicago, IL
  45. Graham Etherington, Norwich, UK
  46. Su Snyder, Wooster, OH
  47. Lee Barnes, Seattle, WA
  48. Grant Gardner, Ottumwa, Iowa
  49. Jeremy Medina, Tucson, AZ
  50. Mike Wasilco, Scottsville, NY
  51. Benoit Dorion, Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada
  52. Alan Dupuis, Cambridge, NY
  53. Aaron Bilyeu, Placerville, Ca
  54. Joshua Watson, Gainesville, FL
  55. Rob Lane, Chandler, AZ
  56. Bruce Larson, Milton, MA
  57. Julie Desmeules, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
  58. David Bell, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
  59. Thomas Snetsinger, Brownsville, OR
  60. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  61. Kurt Pohlman, Kaneohe, Hi
  62. Sam Pratt, Inman, SC
  63. Brendan Collins, New Haven, VT
  64. Urs Geiser, Woodridge, Illinois
  65. Suzie Bulger, Cotati, CA
  66. John Garrett, Pasadena, CA
  67. Linda Hoffman, Springville, NY
  68. Richard Garrigues, San Antonio de Belen, Heredia, Costa Rica
  69. Kevin Kerr, Guelph, ON
  70. Chris West, Richland Center, WI
  71. Robert Mottershead, Philadelphia, PA
  72. Zachary Loman, Arcata, California
  73. Stephen Seiffert, Lansdowne, Ontario, Canada
  74. Tom Benson, San Bernardino, CA
  75. Mike Burrell, Heidelberg, Ontario
  76. Matt Baumann, Abq,NM
  77. Szilard J. Daroczi, Tg.-Mures, Romania
  78. Glenn L. Werner, Beaufort, S.C.
  79. Steve Tucker, San Francisco, Ca
  80. Brendan Fogarty, Long Island, NY
  81. Claude Auchu, La Pocatière, Québec
  82. Georgia Conti, Seattle, WA
  83. Steve Arlow, Rochford, Essex, England
  84. Owen McMurtrey, Chicago, IL
  85. Brian McAllister, Saranac Lake, NY
  86. Chloe Scott, Forest Knolls, CA
  87. Jim Valimont, Cheswick, PA
  88. Marc Ribaudo, Woodbridge, VA
  89. Howard Sands, Eagle Point, Oregon
  90. Robert Packard, Riverside, CA
  91. Thomas Hall, Livermore, Colorado
  92. Chris Warren, Portland, OR
  93. Andy Jones, Cleveland Heights, OH
  94. Jim Mountjoy, Galesburg IL
  95. Diane Demers, Montréal, QC, Canada
  96. Henry Trombley, Bristol, VT
  97. Neil Gilbert, orange,ca
  98. Lyn Imperial, Middletown, DE
  99. John Bissell, Grimes, Iowa
  100. Malkolm Boothoyd, Whitehorse, Yukon
  101. Leslie Rountree, Fayetteville, GA
  102. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, Oregon
  103. Julie Cocke, Jacksonville, FL
  104. Michael Lester, Haworth, NJ
  105. Wayne Meyer, Denison, TX
  106. Niko Ranta, Clackamas, Oregon
  107. Philip Kline, Tucson, AZ
  108. Barb Duncan, Jefferson City, MO
  109. Brandon Percival, Pueblo West, Colorado
  110. Thomas Collins, Pittsfield,Ma.
  111. Thomas Lechleitner, Fort Lupton, CO
  112. Alison Village, Berrien Springs, MI
  113. gary koehn, colorado springs, colorado
  114. Mary Chambers, Petaluma, CA
  115. Brad Hammond, Brooksville, Florida
  116. Eric Huston, Tumwater, WA
  117. Judith C. Porter, Kingman, AZ
  118. Dick Cannings, Naramata, BC
  119. Olaf Soltau, New Preston, CT
  120. Jason Fidorra, San Clemente Island, CA
  121. Kevin Neill, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  122. Kala Harris, Vancouver, BC
  123. Lisa Head, St. Gabriel, Louisiana
  124. Aaron Boone, Columbus, Ohio
  125. Larry Kline, Fredericksburg, VA
  126. John Hammond, Durham, North Carolina
  127. Louie Toth, Fairview Heights
  128. Marcelo Brongo, Barcelona, Spain
  129. Adam Betuel, Gainesville, FL
  130. James McKay, Mesa, AZ
  131. Travis A. Mahan, Decatur, IL
  132. Susan Work, Encinitas, CA
  133. Greg Gillson, Hillsboro, OR
  134. Phil Chaon, Cleveland Heights, OH
  135. Richard Jeffers, Santa Clara, CA
  136. Laura Coble, Cannnon Falls, MN
  137. Robert Furrow, Somerville, MA
  138. Mike Gurr, Toronto, Ontario
  139. Sarah J. Zastrow, Riverdale, MD
  140. Sylvia Riggs, Tucson, Arizona
  141. Thomas Hopkins, St. Petersburg, Florida
  142. Sean Williams, Boston, MA
  143. Tamara Brenner, Elmhurst, IL
  144. Liis Veelma, Winnipeg MB
  145. Luke Seitz, Falmouth, ME
  146. Caroline Mooney, Palmdale, CA
  147. Michael Woodruff, Spokane, WA
  148. Pam Baum, Tucson, AZ
  149. Larry Therrien, Belchertown, MA
  150. Jim Kopitzke, Mesa AZ
  151. Elaine MacPherson, Sierra Madre CA
  152. Phillip Howard, Poolesville, Maryland
  153. Craig Dodson, Clifton, CO
  154. Linda Swanson, San Francisco, CA
  155. Avery Bartels, BC, Canada
  156. Marlene Jay Cashen, Veradale, Washington
  157. Tim Hochstetler, Millersburg OH
  158. Jon Atwood, Keene, NH
  159. Robert Doster, Albuquerque, NM
  160. Jill Kaminski, Naples, FL
  161. Blake Mathys, Milltown, NJ
  162. Evan Houston, Seattle, WA
  163. Anthony H. Bledsoe, Pittsburgh, PA
  164. Wil Domke, Miami, Fl
  165. Jean Whitlock, Green Bay, Wisconsin
  166. Stephen Joly, Kamloops, BC
  167. Willis Brubaker, Wooster, OH
  168. Grace Oliver, Redmond, WA
  169. Ed Harper, Sacramento, CA
  170. Lowell Young, Mariposa, CA
  171. Maia Paddock, Hickory Grove, South Carolina
  172. James P. Smith, Amherst, MA
  173. Adrian Azpiroz, St. Louis, MO
  174. Eleanor Proctor, Peterborough, Ontario
  175. Geoffrey A. Williamson, Chicago, IL
  176. Christine Williamson, Chicago, IL
  177. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, OR
  178. Scott Olmstead, Quito, Ecuador
  179. Myles Falconer, Lakefield, ONTARIO
  180. Josh Anderson, Litchfield, Minnesota
  181. Lois Lindsay, Frankford WV
  182. Harry Hooper, Tallahassee, Florida
  183. Eddie Mundall, Yreka, CA
  184. Mitch Ratzlaff, Dallas, 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.

Pink-footed Shearwater
Cory's Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
Northern Fulmar
Wedge-tailed Shearwater
Black-footed Albatross
Flesh-footed Shearwater
Heermann's Gull
Herring Gull
Parasitic Jaeger
Short-tailed Albatross
Wandering Albatross


This answer was written by Tony Leukering. The photo was supplied by Chris Wood.