ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 65


Bird Photo

The strong orange coloration of our bird's face, underparts, and tail is seemingly incongruent considering the copious white stuff on the ground in the picture's background. Indeed, our bird can really only be an oriole, but they're not known as snow-loving birds. Despite our shock of looking in the backyard in winter and seeing an oriole, we shouldn't let that surprise keep us from correctly identifying the bird.

We can immediately rule out the two yellow orioles, Scott's and Audubon's, and Orchard Oriole, as those species never exhibit any strong orange coloration. Our bird's face pattern rules out another species, Baltimore Oriole, which never shows a distinct facial mask combined with a throat patch. Altamira and Spot-breasted orioles can be eliminated by those species' more-extensive black masks and yellow-orange upper wing bars. The vagrant Black-vented Oriole does not sport wing bars in any plumage. That leaves us with two seemingly dissimilar ABA-area breeding species – Hooded and Bullock's – and a Mexican vagrant, Streak-backed. Bullock's is the most likely of the three to be found in winter in snowy areas and the apparent pale belly – or, at least, flanks – makes that species an attractive option as the identity of our mystery bird. Unfortunately, a closer look shows that the face is considerably brighter orange than any other orange visible on the bird, a feature not particularly typical of Bullock's. The same feature is also a strike or two against an identification as Hooded Oriole and the last nail in that coffin is our bird's strong and straight bill – quite different from Hooded's thin, decurved beak.

That should leave us only with an outlandish identity, considering the winter wonderland scene! But, with a winter Wisconsin specimen of Streak-backed Oriole, can a live one be completely out of the question? Well, looking at our bird's back, we can see dark, arrow-shaped centers to the individual feathers, a perfectly good feature to confirm our surprising identification engendered by the other features mentioned above. I took this picture of a Streak-backed Oriole (an adult female?) in Loveland, Larimer Co., CO, on 9 December 2007. The bird represented the state's not-unexpected first record. Thanks to the Koglers for hosting the bird and the hundreds of birders coming to see it.


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the August Bird Photo Quiz—Streak-backed Oriole:

  1. Jim Kopitzke, Mesa AZ
  2. Kimberly Sucy, Rochester, NY
  3. Jim Ross, Pleasanton, CA.
  4. Terri Everett, Big Rapids, MI
  5. L. Long, Chandler, AZ
  6. Justin Jones, Glendale, Arizona
  7. Kathryn Zimmerman, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  8. Kelly McKinne, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  9. Rich Swartzentruber, Salem, Oregon
  10. Jon Atwood, Keene, NH
  11. Annie Meyer, Tacoma, WA
  12. Karl Erich Mayer, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  13. Josh Southern, Raleigh, NC
  14. Bret McCarty, Lakewood, OH
  15. Kevin M Hill, Shoreline, WA
  16. John Puschock, Seattle, WA
  17. Chris Warren, Portland, OR
  18. Steve Arlow, Rochford, Essex, England
  19. Dean Nicholson, Cranbrook, B.C.
  20. Henry Trombley, Bristol, Vermont
  21. Sam Burckhardt, Chicago, IL
  22. Brian E. Small, Los Angeles, CA
  23. Richard Garrigues, San Antonio de Belen, Heredia, Costa Rica
  24. Steven Mitten, Belize City, Belize
  25. Ted Stiritz, Russellville, AR
  26. Ryan Phillips, Campbell, CA
  27. Joshua Covill, Columbia Falls, MT
  28. Matthew Toomey, Tempe, AZ
  29. Thomas Hall, Livermore, Colorado
  30. Daroczi J. Szilard, Tg.-Mures, Romania
  31. Graham Etherington, Norwich, UK
  32. Rick Poulin, Ottawa, Ontario
  33. Matt Pike, Lacey, WA
  34. Robbie LaCelle, Camden, NY
  35. Joshua Watson, Gainesville, FL
  36. Rob Lane, Chander, AZ
  37. Brandon Percival, Pueblo West, Colorado
  38. Jonathan Comeau, Williston, VT
  39. Brendan Fogarty, Hempstead, NY
  40. David Tyrer, Ottawa, Ontario
  41. Shaun Hicks, Morrisville, PA
  42. Phil Vreeman, Grand Rapids, MI
  43. Adam Nisbett, Saint James, MO
  44. Linda McElvany, Williston, VT
  45. Grant Gardner, Ottumwa, IA
  46. kurt Pohlman, Kaneohe Hawaii
  47. Wes Serafin, orland park, il
  48. Amy St. Pierre, Kelly, WY
  49. Philip Kline, Tucson, AZ
  50. Lori Fujimoto, Alameda, CA
  51. Brad Wilkinson, Tallmadge, OH
  52. Joel Mundall, Loma Linda, CA
  53. Alan Dupuis, Cambridge, NY
  54. Marcel Such, Lyons, CO
  55. Joel Such, Lyons, CO
  56. Kevin Kerr, Guelph, ON
  57. Aaron Bilyeu, Placerville, CA
  58. Thomas Hopkins, St. Petersburg, FL
  59. John Bissell, Grimes, Iowa
  60. George F. Cresswell, Colorado Springs, CO
  61. matt newport, aurora, co
  62. Willis Brubaker, Wooster Ohio
  63. Marvin Torrez, Managua, Nicaragua
  64. Mark Rosenstein, Cambridge, MA
  65. Amanda Auger, Portland, OR
  66. Avery Bartels, Nelson, BC, Canada
  67. David Bell, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
  68. Travis Cooper, San Diego, CA
  69. Malkolm Boothroyd, Whitehorse, Yukon
  70. Liis Veelma, Winnipeg MB
  71. John Breitsch, Denver, Colorado
  72. Lesley Howes, Ottawa, ON
  73. Greg Neise, Chicago, IL
  74. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  75. Noah Gaines, Santa Barbara, CA
  76. Ruth Stearns, Lincoln, NE
  77. Tom Lechleitner, Fort Lupton, CO
  78. Geoff Parks, Gainesville, FL
  79. Dave Nurney, Norfolk
  80. Toby Ross, Davis, CA
  81. Julie Desmeules, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
  82. Nathan Swick, Chapel Hill, NC
  83. Jon Mann, Chandler, AZ
  84. Jim Peck, Wausau, WI
  85. Linda Hoffman, Springville, NY
  86. James McRacken, Charlotte, NC
  87. Matt Baumann, ABQ, NM
  88. Karen Rubinstein, New York, NY
  89. Tim Hochstetler, millersburg, oh
  90. Eleanor Proctor, Peterborough, Ontario
  91. Richard Jeffers, Santa Clara, CA
  92. Gary Koehn, Colorado Springs, CO
  93. Anton, Yardley, PA
  94. Ian Davies, Medford, MA
  95. Brian McDermott, Canton, NC
  96. Victor Ayala Perez, La Paz, Baja California Sur
  97. Olaf Soltau, New Preston, CT
  98. Ed Harper, Carmichael, CA
  99. Troy Alello, Denham Springs, La
  100. Kevin Bell, Philadelphia, PA
  101. Patty McKelvey, Sheffield Village, Ohio
  102. Mark Stevenson, Tucson, AZ
  103. Jerry Jourdan, Wyandotte, MI
  104. James McKay, Mesa, AZ
  105. Greg Schrott, Sebring, FL
  106. Jim Mountjoy, Galesburg, IL
  107. Linda Swanson, San Francisco, CA
  108. Ed Ehrman, Southgate, Ky
  109. Robert Doster, Albuquerque, NM
  110. Anthony H. Bledsoe, Pittsburgh, PA
  111. David Perpinan, Athens, GA
  112. betsy kurimo, athens, ga
  113. Elaine MacPherson, Sierra Madre CA
  114. Tim Kalbach, Colorado
  115. Steven Brown, colorado springs, CO
  116. Lupe Varela, Las Vegas, NV
  117. Chloe Scott, Lagunitas, CA
  118. Mary Walsh, Valencia, CA
  119. manel mondejar, Portland, OR
  120. Susan Kritzik, Portola Valley, CA
  121. Cera LaFleur, Seattle, WA
  122. Marcelo Brongo, Barcelona, Spain
  123. Mike Ellis, Omaha, NE
  124. Nathan Farnau, Atlanta, GA
  125. Spencer Hardy, Norwich, VT
  126. Steve Lewis, Juneau, Alaska
  127. Bobby Walsh, Davis, CA
  128. Colin Gjervold, Tampa, FL
  129. Greg Gillson, Hillsboro, OR
  130. Eileen Leskovec, Kirtland, OH
  131. Alexandre Anctil, Quebec, Quebec
  132. Robert McNab, Laguna Niguel, CA
  133. Brien Weiner, Valley Stream, NY
  134. Jim Eager, Cape Canaveral, FL
  135. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, OR
  136. Matthew Medler, Niskayuna, NY
  137. Julie Hart, Hartland, VT
  138. Jason Pietrzak, Logan, Utah
  139. Tim Hodge, Roseland, VA
  140. David Yeany II, Cumberland, MD
  141. Pam Baum, Tucson, AZ
  142. Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA
  143. John Hammond, Durham, North Carolina
  144. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, Oregon
  145. Paul Glass, South Boston, VA
  146. Jeff Hole, Orlando, Florida
  147. Javier de Leon, Edinburg, TX
  148. Katie Ross, Anchorage, AK

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.

Streak-backed Oriole
Bullock's Oriole
Altamira Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Hooded Oriole
Orchard Oriole
Western Tanager
Olive Warbler
American Goldfinch
Blackburian Warbler
Flame-colored Tanager
Spot-breasted Oriole


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