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ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 63

Answer

Bird Photo

We've got a brown sparrow-like bird in what looks like marsh vegetation. The apparent field marks are few, but it does have a pale superciliary; a darker, brown, eyeline; unmarked chest and belly; and a bicoloed bill (blackish and yellowish). While I could run through the various plain-breasted New World sparrows looking for a match to our field marks, the truth is that the bill color and pattern rule out most of those options and the dark legs (definitely not pink, as are those of most sparrows) eliminate all the others. Oh, did I mention that the legs were dark? Also, looking between the legs, we can see that the undertail coverts have large, dark centers – another feature inconsistent with the appearance of most of the plain-breasted sparrow options.

Well, if it's not a New World sparrow, where else should we look? If it were on the ABA checklist, we might look into Orange Bishop (an exotic becoming established in southern California), but that species has orange legs; at least, those individuals that remotely resemble our quiz bird do. Besides, it is not on the ABA checklist, so is not available as a quiz species. At least, though, the Orange Bishop is in the right section of the taxonomic list, as the only real remaining contenders belong to the Passeridae, the true sparrows (or, as ethnocentric North Americans might say, the Old World sparrows). I took this picture of a female House Sparrow in Lakewood, Jefferson Co., CO, on 21 May 2006.

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The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the June Bird Photo Quiz—House Sparrow:

  1. William Jones, Shropshire, England
  2. Thomas Hall, Livermore, Colorado
  3. Rick Poulin, Ottawa. Ontario
  4. Nathan Swick, Chapel Hill, NC
  5. Rob Lane, Chandler, AZ
  6. Jim Mountjoy, Galesburg, IL
  7. Andrew Fayer, Fort Washington, PA
  8. Alan Dupuis, Cambridge, NY
  9. Corey Husic, Kunkletown, PA
  10. Kimberly Sucy, Rochester, NY
  11. Brendan Fogarty, Hempstead, NY
  12. Blake Mathys, Milltown, NJ
  13. George F. Cresswell, Colorado Springs, Colorado
  14. Aaron Bilyeu, Placerville, CA
  15. Neil Gilbert, Orange, CA
  16. Aaron Hulsey, Smiths Grove, Ky
  17. Richard Jeffers, Santa Clara, CA
  18. Danny Boatman, Woodbury, MN
  19. Henry Wilton, Rutland, Vermont
  20. Benoit Dorion, Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada
  21. Stephen Joly, Kamloops, BC
  22. Graham Etherington, Norwich, UK
  23. Greg Schrott, Sebring, FL
  24. John Kuenzli, Columbus, OH
  25. Karl Erich Mayer, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  26. Daroczi J. Szilard, Tg.-Mures, Romania
  27. Willis Brubaker, Wooster , Ohio
  28. Bret McCarty, lakewood, OH
  29. Terri Everett, Big Rapids, MI
  30. Ryan Phillips, San Jose, CA
  31. Josh Southern, Raleigh, NC
  32. Matt Pike, Lacey, WA
  33. Robin LaFortune, Delano, MN
  34. Brad Hammond, Brooksville, Florida
  35. Mary Chambers, Petaluma, CA
  36. Jim Peck, Wausau, WI
  37. David Bell, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
  38. Ted Stiritz, Russellville, AR
  39. Joshua Watson, Gainesville, FL
  40. Jacob Drucker, New York, NY
  41. Hope Batcheller, Petersburgh, NY
  42. Wayne Meyer, Denison, TX
  43. Marc Ribaudo, Woodbridge, VA
  44. Malkolm Boothroyd, Whitehorse, Yukon
  45. Claude Auchu, La Pocatière, Québec
  46. tom graham, seabrook nh
  47. Richard Garrigues, San Antonio de Belen, Heredia, Costa Rica
  48. Marcelo Brongo, Barcelona, Spain
  49. Amy St. Pierre, Kelly, WY
  50. Cole Wolf, Albuquerque, NM
  51. Grant Gardner, Ottumwa, IA
  52. Adam Betuel, Gainesville, FL
  53. Kevin Kerr, Guelph, ON
  54. Andy johnson, Ann Arbor, MI
  55. John Bissell, Grimes, Iowa
  56. Ana, West Bend, WI
  57. Matt Baumann, ABQ, NM
  58. Joshua Gahagan, Oakham, MA
  59. Brian E. Small, Los Angeles, CA
  60. Chris Warren, Portland, OR
  61. Chris West, Richland Center, WI
  62. Jonathan Comeau, Williston, VT
  63. Nigel Bates, Hopewell, NJ
  64. Larry Kline, Fredericksburg, VA
  65. Urs Geiser, Woodridge, Illinois
  66. Josiah LaCelle, Camden, NY
  67. William Glenn, las Cruces, NM
  68. Avery Bartels, Nelson, BC, Canada
  69. John Hammond, Durham, NC
  70. Philip Kline, Tucson, AZ
  71. Robert Mottershead, Philadelphia, PA
  72. Jon Atwood, Keene, NH
  73. Joshua Covill, Columbia Falls, MT
  74. Matthew Kenne, Algona, Iowa
  75. Zachary Loman, Arcata, CA
  76. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  77. Ian Davies, Medford, MA
  78. Tom Benson, San Bernardino, CA
  79. Georgia Conti, Patzcuaro, Mexico
  80. Chuck carlson, Ft. Peck MT
  81. Judith Porter, Kingman, Arizona
  82. Kevin Welsh, Novi, MI
  83. Jason McGuire, London, ON
  84. Tucker Lutter, Bronson, IA
  85. Mitch Ratzlaff, Dallas, OR
  86. Steve Arlow, Rochford, Essex, England
  87. Lars Hemmendinger, Arlington, Virginia
  88. Peter Kniffin, Cedarhurst, NY
  89. Pete Fenner, East Peoria, IL
  90. Greg Swick, Ozark, Missouri
  91. Ed Harper, Sacramento, CA
  92. David Rosenbaum, Waco, TX
  93. Anthony H. Bledsoe, Pittsburgh, PA
  94. Petro Pynnönen, Helsinki, Finland
  95. Patty McKelvey, Sheffield Village, Ohio
  96. Melissa Hein, North Branch, MN
  97. Kevin Bell, Philadelphia, PA
  98. Barb Duncan, Jefferson City, MO
  99. Adam Sell, Grayslake, IL
  100. Jerry Jourdan, Wyandotte, MI
  101. Myles Falconer, Lakefield, ON Canada
  102. jake smerchansky, Arlington, Virgina
  103. James McKay, Mesa, AZ
  104. Adam Nisbett, St. James, MO
  105. Geoffrey A. Williamson, Chicago, IL
  106. Toby Ross, Davis CA
  107. Kathleen MacAulay, Milford, Nova Scotia
  108. Brad Wilkinson, Tallmadge, OH
  109. Glenn Werner, Beaufort, S.C.
  110. Joy Underhill, Pasadena, CA
  111. Erica Wunder, Beaufort, S.C.
  112. Michael Lester, Haworth, NJ
  113. Annie Meyer, Tacoma, WA
  114. Carolyn Broussard, Carencro, La
  115. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, OR
  116. Tom Qwerty, St. Petersburg, Missouri
  117. Bobby Walsh, Davis, CA
  118. Randall Royal, Beaufort, S.C.
  119. Tim Hochstetler, millersburg OH
  120. Matthew Daw, Raleigh, NC
  121. Gerrad Jones, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  122. Greg Lawrence, Rochester, NY
  123. Pam Woodman, New Harbour, NL, Canada
  124. Robert Doster, Albuquerque, NM
  125. Jim Kopitzke, Mesa AZ
  126. Mary Walsh, Valencia, CA
  127. Matt Medler, Niskayuna, NY
  128. Linda Swanson, San Francisco, CA
  129. Spencer Hardy, Norwich, VT
  130. Alexandre Anctil, Québec, Québec
  131. Lori Fujimoto, Alameda, CA
  132. Julie Hart, Hartland, VT
  133. Shaun Hicks, Morrisville, PA
  134. Kelly McKinne, Ann Arbor Michigan
  135. Kathryn Zimmerman, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  136. Javier de Leon, Edinburg, TX

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.

House Sparrow
136
Dickcissel
9
Brown-headed Cowbird
8
Indigo Bunting
8
Shiny Cowbird
3
White-winged Crossbill
3
American Tree Sparrow
2
Black-and-White Warbler
2
Brewer's Sparrow
2
Red Crossbill
2
Seaside Sparrow
2
American Goldfinch
1
Blue Grosbeak
1
Botteri's Sparrow
1
Cassin's Sparrow
1
California Towhee
1
Field Sparrow
1
Lark Bunting
1
McCown's Longspur
1
Northern Mockingbird
1
Pine Siskin
1
Purple Finch
1
Red-winged Blackbird
1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
1
Song Sparrow
1
Swamp Sparrow
1

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The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Tony Leukering.