ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 76

Answer

Bird Photo

A swimming waterbird with dark crown, white cheeks, and a dark throat with a reddish cast: those features don't combine in very many species, so our task this month should be a bit easier than that of many months. Bill shape rules out any thoughts of the couple duck species with our bird's head pattern (Black Scoter and Ruddy Duck) and the low-slung and wide body shape ought to take us straight to the grebes. Once there, our only real options are Horned, Red-necked, and Eared grebes, as head pattern and neck length and pattern rule out all others.

It's difficult to tell bill color, which would automatically rule Red-necked in or out, though many features of our bird appear right for that species. However, though our bird's neck is not fully extended, it still looks a bit short for that of Red-necked Grebe and the bill looks too short, even foreshortened as it is by the picture's angle. That leaves us with a duo of grebes that, despite their distinctness, are often confused by birders.

With this head-on view, comparing width of head to width of neck, Horned Grebe shows a relatively wider head than does Eared Grebe. Though the actual difference in millimeters can be quite small, it results in a wide-headed appearance in Horned Grebe and in Eared Grebe an appearance of the head being barely wider than the typically skinny neck of that species. From this angle, Horned Grebe also shows a flat crown while Eared Grebe exhibits a peak in the center (side to side) of the crown. The dusky-reddish coloration on the neck is not retained or developed alternate plumage, but is simply typical of formative plumage in Horned Grebe. I took this photo of a formative-plumaged Horned Grebe at Westport, WA, on 7 February 2006.

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The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the July Bird Photo Quiz—Horned Grebe:

  1. Laure Wilson Neish, Penticton, BC Canada
  2. John Brett, Toronto, Ontario
  3. Kevin M Hill, SHORELINE
  4. Richard Tiede, San Jose CA
  5. Nathaniel Hernandez, Great Meadows, New Jersey
  6. Eric Antonio Martinez, Oaxaca, Mexico
  7. kathy brodhead, glide, OR
  8. Wes Serafin, orland park il
  9. Adam Betuel, Kissimmee, FL
  10. Max Wilson, Kensington, MD
  11. Dave Slager, Columbus, Ohio
  12. robert wilson, Salt Lake City, UT
  13. Ed Harper, Carmichael, CA
  14. Jeremy Medina, Tucson, AZ
  15. David Rankin, Avon Park, FL
  16. Jonah Joffe, Wynnewood, PA
  17. Orrin Harvey, Tucson, AZ
  18. john shamgochian, east providence, rhode island
  19. Steve Arlow, Rochford, Essex, England
  20. Joshua Christian, Hutchinson, MN
  21. Ryan Edmondson, Fishers
  22. Nathan Swick, Chapel Hill, NC
  23. Pierre Goulet, St. John's, NL
  24. Pete Fenner, East Peoria, IL
  25. Andre Moncrieff, Berrien Springs, MI
  26. Rob Young, Alexandria, VA
  27. Ana Komro, West Bend, WI
  28. Barb Duncan, Jefferson City, MO
  29. Linda Long, Chandler, AZ
  30. Graham Etherington, Norwich, England
  31. logan kahle, san francisco, CA
  32. Jimmy Warren, Schwenksville
  33. Jacob Drucker, New York, NY
  34. Thomas Collins, Pittsfield, MA.
  35. Brendan Collins, New Haven, VT.
  36. William von Herff, Ottawa, Ontario
  37. Chris Warren, San Marcos, TX
  38. Marcel Such, Lyons, CO
  39. Ardmia Holt, Grapevine,Tx
  40. Mark Rosenstein, Cambridge, MA
  41. Thomas Hall, Livermore, CO
  42. Carol McCollough, St. Michaels, Maryland
  43. Claude Morris, Austin, TX
  44. Wil Domke, Miami, FL
  45. Greg Schrott, Sebring, FL
  46. Aaron Bilyeu, Placerville, CA
  47. Kevin Kerr, Guelph, ON
  48. Ben Di Labio, Carp, Ontario
  49. Karl Erich Mayer, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  50. Jessica Gorzo, Okatie, SC
  51. Andy Johnson, Ann Arbor, MI
  52. Kari Williams, Milwaukee, WI
  53. Olaf Soltau, New Preston, CT
  54. Brian Bielfelt, Greenwich, CT
  55. John Kuenzli, Columbus, OH
  56. Tucker J. Lutter, Bronson, IA
  57. Nicole Perretta, San Diego, CA
  58. Joshua Covill, Columbia Falls, MT
  59. Richard Garrigues, San Antonio de Belén, Costa Rica
  60. John Arnett, Glendale, AZ
  61. Mark Dettling, Bolinas, CA
  62. Thomas Snetsinger, Brownsville, OR
  63. Claude Auchu, La Pocatière, Québec
  64. Ali Iyoob, Raleigh, NC
  65. Demetri Lafkas, Lombard, IL
  66. Lyn Imperial, Middletown, DE
  67. Jim Mountjoy, Galesburg, IL
  68. Chuck Carlson, Ft. Peck MT
  69. Josh Southern, Raleigh, NC
  70. Brian E. Small, Los Angeles, CA
  71. Wayne Meyer, Denison, TX
  72. Zach Smith, Davis, Ca
  73. Stijn Cooleman, Jabbeke, BELGIUM
  74. Dave Tietjen, Huntsville, AL
  75. Jon Atwood, Keene, NH
  76. Joel Such, Lyons, CO
  77. John Branchflower, Beaumont, CA
  78. Greg Swick, Ozark, Missouri
  79. Dean Nicholson, Cranbrook, B.C.
  80. Valerie J. Harris, Cranbrook, B.C.
  81. Jonathan Goff, Millville,MA
  82. David Scott, Grayslake, Illinois
  83. Andrew Fayer, Fort Washington, PA
  84. Adam Romswinckel-Guise, Ben Lomond, CA
  85. John Gluth, Brentwood, NY
  86. Nils Steika, blacksburg, va
  87. Steve McAllister, Newmarket, Ontario
  88. Lisa Moore, Seattle, WA
  89. Annie Meyer, Tacoma, WA
  90. Jennie MacFarland, Tucson, AZ
  91. David Bell, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
  92. Alfred T. Brayton, Titusville
  93. Su Snyder, Wooster, OH
  94. Eddie Mundall, Yreka, CA
  95. Liis Veelma, Winnipeg MB
  96. Sam Burckhardt, Chicago, IL
  97. Robert Doster, Albuquerque, NM
  98. Julio M Gomez, Davis, CA
  99. Sandra Lautrup, Effingham, Illinois
  100. Joel Mundall, Loma Linda, CA
  101. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  102. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, Oregon
  103. Pam Baum, Tucson, AZ
  104. Philip Kline, Tucson, AZ
  105. Will Sweet, Sharon, MA
  106. Benoit Dorion, Laval, Quebec, Canada
  107. Grant McCreary, Cumming, GA
  108. kirsten mills, Victoria, British Columbia
  109. Sarah T., Ann Arbor, Michigan
  110. Erik Peñaloza, Guadalajara Jal. Mexico
  111. Terri Everett, Big Rapids, MI
  112. Robert R., Ann Arbor, MI
  113. Michael Miller, Chicago, IL
  114. Harmony Coriddi, Marion, New York
  115. Myles Falconer, Lakefield, ON
  116. Mike Fialkovich, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  117. Jackie E Cooper, Rockville, MD
  118. Robert Packard, Riverside, CA
  119. Marlene Jay Cashen, Veradale, Washington
  120. James McKay, Mesa, AZ
  121. Colin Gjervold, Tampa, FL
  122. Matthew Rymkiewicz, New York, NY
  123. Barb Robertson, Ottawa, Ont., Canada
  124. Mark Mossing, Draper, Utah
  125. Erik Troske, Michigan City, Indiana
  126. Brendalee Phillips, Philadelphia, PA
  127. Jason McGuire, London, ON
  128. Willis Brubaker, Wooster, Ohio
  129. Toby Ross, Davis, CA
  130. Daroczi J. Szilard, Tg.-Mures, Romania
  131. Nathan Romney, Provo, UT
  132. James P. Smith, Amherst, MA
  133. Rich Swartzentruber, Salem, Oregon
  134. Mike Ellis, Omaha, NE
  135. Lance Bastian, Greenville, SC
  136. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, Oregon
  137. Bill Hintze, New Cumberland, PA
  138. Kasia Matyniak, New Cumberland, PA
  139. Karen Rubinstein, New York, NY
  140. Sarah Zastrow, Riverdale, MD
  141. Mary Zastrow, Riverdale, MD

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.

Horned Grebe
141
Eared Grebe
17
Red-necked Grebe
9
Least Grebe
8
Western Grebe
4
Clark's Grebe
2
Pied-billed Grebe
1

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