ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 92


Bird Photo
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Actually, even if this month's bird hit you in the head, it probably wouldn't hurt, as it is obviously quite small (comparison can be made to the elm leaves in the background, which are not all that large). The bird is also obviously not a duck, but a small passerine, what with the wing bars, white spots in the tail, and yellow rump.

Whoa, did I say yellow rump? Is it that easy? Let's take a closer look.

Few ABA-area bird species sport such contrastingly and bright yellow rumps, most all of them warblers. Some of the Asian Phylloscopus warblers have such, but only one of those has occurred in the ABA area, and Pallas' Leaf-Warbler has a strongly-striped head. Lawrence's Goldfinch and Virginia's, Nashville, and Palm warblers all have yellow or yellowish rumps, but without the strong contrast to the back and uppertail coverts as on our quiz subject, rather grading into the neighboring colors. So, white tail spots, wing bars, and contrasting yellow rump should lead to the obvious conclusion, right?

Not so fast. Granted, we've got three characters that agree with an identification of Yellow-rumped Warbler – the most abundant and widespread of yellow-rumped passerines in the ABA area, but are they sufficient? Looking at our bird's throat, we can see that it's yellow, which if a Yellow-rumped Warbler, would make it an Audubon's Warbler. However, Audubon's has – at least – white outer edges to the greater coverts (adult males have nearly the entirety of those feathers white and forming the white wing panel typical of the plumage), the tips of which form the lower wing bar; our quiz bird does not show such. Well, then, perhaps it's an intergrade Audubon's x Myrtle Warbler, showing an Audubon's throat, but a Myrtle wing pattern. Unfortunately, south of the yellow throat, we can also see that the bird's chest – not just the "shoulders" – is yellow, ruling out all forms of Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Looking even more closely at the underparts, we should note the thin band of gray between throat and chest. We should also critically examine those tail spots. We can see two of ‘em, each on a corresponding third rectrix on the left and right sides of the tail and the critical aspect of them is their placement: virtually in the middle of the tail from base to tip. The tail spots on those feathers in Yellow-rumped Warblers that sport spots on those feathers would be very near the tip, not the middle. Only one ABA-area species sports a white band in the middle of the tail, a contrastingly bright yellow rump, white wing bars, yellow throat, gray necklace, and yellow chest. I took this picture of an immature female Magnolia Warbler at Cape May Point, Cape May Co., NJ, on 10 September 2010.


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the November Bird Photo Quiz—Magnolia Warbler:

  1. David Rankin, Ringwood, NJ
  2. Steve Mitten, Belize City Belize
  3. Dean Nicholson, Cranbrook, B.C.
  4. Ben Coulter, Etna, PA
  5. Karl Erich Mayer, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  6. Monica Nugent, New Westminster, BC
  7. Steve Arlow, Rochford, Essex, England
  8. Lance Verderame, Livingston Manor, NY
  9. Bob Proctor, Elgin, Scotland
  10. Greg Tito, Williamsburg, VA
  11. Terry O'Connor, Indianapolis, IN
  12. Gary Woods, Fresno, CA
  13. Josh Southern, Raleigh, NC
  14. Jim McConnell, Swarthmore, PA
  15. Eric Antonio Martinez, Oaxaca, Mexico
  16. David Hollie, Ringgold, GA
  17. Claude Auchu, La Pocatiere, Quebec
  18. Michael Lester, Haworth, NJ
  19. Ross Schaefer, Atascadero, CA
  20. Tim Hajda, Broken Bow, Nebraska
  21. Marcel Such, Lyons, CO
  22. Jason McGuire, London, ON
  23. Joel Such, Lyons, CO
  24. Wayne Meyer, Denison, TX
  25. Graham Etherington, Norwich, England
  26. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  27. Thomas Hopkins, Saint Petersburg, FL
  28. Claire Miller, Fair Oaks, CA
  29. Jon Atwood, Keene, NH
  30. Brandon Cullen, Clyde, OH
  31. Adrian Hinkle, Portland, OR
  32. Marc Ribaudo, Woodbridge, VA
  33. Jim Mountjoy, Galesburg, IL
  34. Aaron Boone, Plainfield, IL
  35. Don Pendleton, East Palo Alto, CA
  36. Andre Moncrieff, Berrien Springs, MI
  37. John Branchflower, Portland, OR
  38. Michael Miller, Chicago, IL
  39. Matt Baumann, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  40. Robert Packard, Riverside, CA
  41. Benoit Dorion, Laval, Quebec, Canada
  42. Olivier Barden, Quebec, Qc
  43. Traci Van Tine, Otter Lake, MI
  44. Greg Schrott, Sebring, FL
  45. Dan van den Broek, Gladstone, OR
  46. John Kuenzli, Columbus, OH
  47. Andrew Guttenberg, Bozeman, MT
  48. Georgia Conti, Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico
  49. Kevin Kerr, Arlington, VA
  50. Mitch Hurt, Livingston, MT
  51. Spencer Hardy, Norwich, VT
  52. Benjamin Van Doren, White Plains, NY
  53. Nancy Hetrick, Albuquerque, NM
  54. Robert Meehan, Durham, NC
  55. Laure Neish, Penticton, BC Canada
  56. Jim Flynn, Seattle, WA
  57. Jamie Fenneman, Victoria, BC Canada
  58. Kim Kwok, Silver Spring, MD
  59. Mary Walsh, Valencia, CA
  60. Robert McNab, Laguna Niguel, CA
  61. Kevin M Hill, Shoreline, WA
  62. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, Oregon
  63. Ed Harper, Carmichael, CA
  64. Jeff Bogan, Bethel Park, PA
  65. Linda Swanson, San Francisco, CA
  66. Richard Guillet, Montreal
  67. Bobby Walsh, Davis, CA
  68. Matt Dufort, Minneapolis, MN
  69. Aaron Bilyeu, Placerville, CA
  70. Jamie M. Chavez, Santa Maria, CA
  71. Chris Warren, San Marcos, TX
  72. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, Oregon
  73. John Hammond, Durham, NC
  74. Larry Therrien, Belchertown, MA
  75. Larry Harms, Redlands, CA
  76. Joel Mundall, Loma Linda, CA

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.

Magnolia Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Nashville Warbler
American Goldfinch
Northern Parula
Pine Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
American Redstart
Canada Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Lawrence's Goldfinch
Lucy's Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Ruby-crowned kinglet
Say's Phoebe
Western Tanager


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