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ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 90

Answer

Bird Photo
[+] Click Image for Larger Version

Our bird's black tail goes a long way to the quiz's solution, as black-tailed passerines are relatively rare (and, I think that most would agree that we can start with that presumption). Add in the gray uppertail coverts, the long primary projection, and the whitish wing bar, and there just aren't many options. With the above, we've long lost most of the few black-tailed options we had at the start of this paragraph, but not all of 'em, as there might still be the odd flycatcher and a Turdus thrush in the mix.

The dark-centered uppertail coverts are not matched by phoebes, but some American Robins can sport such. Some American Robins also have a faint wing bar, but no American Robins have brown-edged secondaries and mostly-brown scapulars. Various wagtails have narrower tails and don't have brown-edged secondaries nor brown scaps. Blackbirds are, well, right out. That leaves us with the sparrow clan. Few sparrows have black tails, among them much of the genus Amphispiza, plus a few odds and ends (e.g., towhees, Black-chinned Sparrow, and Lark Bunting). However, at this point, the best single ID feature of what we can see on our quiz bird comes screaming to the fore: the black spots/streaks on the scapulars. I took this picture of a Sage Sparrow (of one of the interior races) at Southeast Farallon Island, San Francisco Co., CA, on 26 October 2007.

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

  1. Steve Arlow, Rochford, Essex, England
  2. Ross Schaefer, Atascadero, CA
  3. Jacob Barkett, Woodbridge, VA
  4. Tristan Weinbrenner, Mcpherson, KS
  5. Joel Such, Lyons, Colorado
  6. Marcel Such, Lyons, Colorado
  7. Stephen Joly, Kamloops, BC
  8. Ben Coulter, Etna, PA
  9. John Hammond, NC
  10. Greg Schrott, Sebring, FL
  11. Jonathan Frodge, Cincinnati, Ohio
  12. Andrew Thornton, St. Augustine, FL
  13. Andrew McGann, Williamsburg, VA
  14. Graham Etherington, Norwich, England
  15. Kevin Kerr, Guelph, ON
  16. Claude Auchu, La Pocatiere, Quebec
  17. Ron Pozzi, Granite Bay, CA
  18. Colin Gjervold, Tampa, Florida
  19. David Hollie, Ringgold, GA
  20. Olivier Barden, Quebec City, Qc
  21. Robert Packard, Riverside, CA
  22. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, Oregon

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.

Sage Sparrow
22
Brown-capped Rosy-Finch
6
American Pipit
5
Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
5
Horned Lark
5
Black Rosy-Finch
4
Golden-crowned Sparrow
3
Lapland Longspur
3
Mourning Dove
3
Common Ground Dove
2
Northern Flicker
2
Smith's Longspur
2
Baird's Sparrow
1
Brewer's sparrow
1
Canyon Towhee
1
Cassin's Finch
1
Cassin's Sparrow
1
Chestnut-collared Longspur
1
Clay-colored Sparrow
1
Dickcissel
1
European Starling
1
Field Sparrow
1
Gambel's Quail
1
Harris's Sparrow
1
Kirtland's Warbler
1
Lincoln's Sparrow
1
Olive-backed Pipit
1
Ring-necked Duck
1
Savannah Sparrow
1
Western Gull
1

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