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Takers of the ABA quiz, if they haven't already, will quickly learn that I love pictures of birds in flight, which is why I take so many of them. This month's quiz picture's subject has obvious orangish wing linings that will probably come in to play. Other prominent features are a whitish eye ring, a distinct white chin and throat bordered by blackish lateral throat stripes, a virtually all-black tail, and a pale belly. Finally, the bird's whitish undertail coverts have large, blackish centers that really ought to do something for us. Despite that last, I think that we'll start with the wing linings.
Few species have wing linings of approximately this color, including a few doves, a few hummers, Say's Phoebe, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Barn Swallow, Bluethroat, American, Rufous-backed, and Clay-colored robins, Flame-colored Tanager, and six species of orioles. Shape and proportions can readily eliminate the doves, the hummers, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, and the swallow, leaving us with the phoebe, four thrushes, and six orioles. Bluethroat, Clay-colored Robin, and two of the orioles (Bullock's and Baltimore) can be eliminated by our bird's all-dark tail. None of the remaining orioles or the phoebe sport dark-centered whitish undertail coverts. In fact, the combination of orangish wing linings and our bird's undertail coverts' color and pattern reduce the options to just one species: American Robin. In fact, with the knowledge of the correct answer, all of the other clues line up in the American Robin camp.
Looking more closely, we can see that our quiz bird has just barely a hint of a white tail corner on the bird's right side—there is a minuscule white dot at the outermost rectrix shaft terminus. This feature enables us to guess that the picture was not taken in the east, as individuals of the various races there exhibit strong and obvious white tail corners. Indeed, I took this picture of an American Robin in Loveland, Larimer Co., CO, on 29 March 2008.
The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the July Bird Photo Quiz—American Robin:
The following list shows the number of submissions for each species guessed.
The photo and answer for this quiz were supplied by Tony Leukering.