ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 94


Bird Photo
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While there are quite a few thin-billed passerines, our quiz bird’s thin, pointed bill and heavily-streaked chest should send us straight to the wood warblers without passing ‘Go’ or collecting $200. Once there, the aforementioned features quickly narrow our options.

Thin bills are generally used for probing into tight spaces, a la that of Brown Creeper, which, of course, has a longer bill that is pale below and which lacks streaking on the underparts. And yellow.

The thin bill rules out most of the Dendroica warblers, as that genus tends to wider, blunt bills that are the bills of warbler generalists. However, most of the thin-billed warblers are, or were until recently, members of Vermivora. Though most are now found in Oreothlypis (with the two “winged” warblers—Blue-winged and Golden-winged—being the only extant species remaining in Vermivora), these warblers are, to a species, unstreaked, even in juvenal plumage. Well, Orange-crowned certainly sports streaks, but they’re vague and blurry, not the distinct and blackish streaks of our quiz bird.

Hmm. Perhaps considering foraging styles will help us here. Our probing warblers not among the current or former Vermivoras and in no particular order:

Worm-eating Warbler has a thin bill used to extract tasty morsels from curled dead leaves, but that species, too, is unstreaked, and has a pale mandible;

Yellow-throated Warbler has a long, thin bill, but lacks streaking in the middle of the chest; and

Black-and-white Warbler is a bark prober like Brown Creeper, but sports either blacker and wider streaking or grayer streaking and with the underside of the mandible paler.

Hmm. We could, I guess, use the bird’s plumage. While some might think that the bird’s plumage is not that distinctive, I’m sure that some also went straight to the correct answer via that plumage. That’s because our bird has a streaked throat and of all the ABA-area parulids, only one sports that feature. Also, the bird’s blackish streaking is fairly well-defined and overlaid on what yellow there is on the underparts. ABA-area warblers with both yellow on the underparts and blackish streaking either have the yellow separate from the streaking (a la Yellow-rumped) or the blackish streaking is bolder and laid over brighter and more evenly-yellow bits.

In the winter, Cape May Warbler is primarily a nectarivore, thus it has a thin probing bill. That bill is also fairly useful for picking tiny insects off the bark of introduced elms at Cape May Point, Cape May Co., NJ, particularly on 10 September 2010 when I took this picture.


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

  1. Robert Packard, Riverside, CA
  2. Miriam Rognlie, Bozeman, MT
  3. Joshua Kamp, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  4. William Rockey, Davis, CA
  5. Peter Scully, Anchorage, AK
  6. Dan, Guam
  7. Monica Nugent, New Westminster, BC
  8. Jim Mountjoy, Galesburg, IL
  9. Benjamin Van Doren, White Plains, NY
  10. Claire Miller, Fair Oaks, CA
  11. Wayne Meyer, Denison, TX
  12. Benoit Dorion, Laval, Quebec, Canada
  13. Jon Atwood, Keene, NH
  14. Jamie Fenneman, Victoria, BC, Canada
  15. Brandon Percival, Pueblo West, Colorado
  16. Steve Arlow, Rochford, Essex, England
  17. David Hollie, Ringgold, GA
  18. Richard Garrigues, San Antonio de Belén, Costa Rica
  19. Michael Lester, Haworth, NJ
  20. Karl Erich Mayer, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  21. Tom Benson, San Bernardino, CA
  22. Karlo Antonio Soto, Veracruz, Mexico
  23. Claude Auchu, La Pocatiere, Quebec
  24. Ben Coulter, Etna, PA
  25. Bob Proctor, Elgin, Scotland
  26. Ed Harper, Carmichael, CA
  27. Marc Ribaudo, Woodbridge, VA
  28. Rick Poulin, Ottawa, Ontario
  29. Andre Moncrieff, Berrien Springs, MI
  30. Myles Falconer, Walsingham, ON
  31. Aaron Bilyeu, Placerville, CA
  32. Thomas Hopkins, Saint Petersburg, Florida
  33. Joel Such, Colorado
  34. Marcel Such, Lyons, CO
  35. Joshua Hodge, Hattiesburg, MS
  36. Olivier Barden, Quebec City, Qc
  37. Joan Campbell, Marinette, WI
  38. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  39. Linda Fink, Grand Ronde, OR
  40. Matt Bristol, Gainesville, FL
  41. Ryan Edmondson, Fishers IN
  42. Ruthie Stearns, Lincoln, NE
  43. Pam Myers, Santa Cruz, CA
  44. Larry Therrien, Belchertown, MA
  45. Chris Warren, San Marcos, TX
  46. Robert McNab, Laguna Niguel, CA
  47. William Matthews, Monroe, Louisiana
  48. Jar-Jar Binks, Naboo
  49. logan kahle, San Francisco, CA
  50. Jason McGuire, London, ON
  51. Patty McKelvey, Sheffield Village, Ohio
  52. Andrew Guttenberg, Bozeman, MT
  53. John Gluth, Brentwood, NY
  54. Mitch Hurt, Livingston, Montana
  55. Ben Cowens, Jonesboro, AR
  56. Matthew Cvetas, Evanston, IL
  57. Robert Meehan, Durham
  58. beau schaefer, round lake beach, IL
  59. Nathan Swick, Chapel Hill, NC
  60. Carolyn Coutre, Grand Haven, Michigan
  61. John Hammond, Durham, NC
  62. Eric Pineiro, Titusville, FL
  63. Philip Kline, Tucson, AZ
  64. Jacob Drucker, New York, NY
  65. Ross Schaefer, Atascadero, CA
  66. Mark Dettling, Bolinas, CA
  67. Kevin Kerr, Arlington, VA
  68. Jim Kopitzke, Mesa, AZ
  69. Mike Fialkovich, Pittsburgh, PA
  70. Spencer Hardy, Norwich, VT
  71. Bob Metzler, Longview, Texas
  72. Jason Fidorra, Gainesville, FL
  73. Daroczi J. Szilard, Tg.-Mures, Romania
  74. jeff timmer, kalamazoo, michigan
  75. David C. Smith, Owings Mills, MD
  76. Jeremy Medina, Tucson, AZ
  77. Reba Browning, Pottsboro, TX
  78. Justin Bosler, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  79. Sean Williams, Delaware, OH
  80. Urs Geiser, Woodridge, IL
  81. Matthew Rymkiewicz, New York, NY
  82. Geoff Urwin, Warman, Saskatchewan
  83. Greg Schrott, Sebring, FL
  84. Ann Gibson, Winfield, BC
  85. Mike McCloy, Cullowhee, NC
  86. Greg Tito, Williamsburg, VA
  87. Dean Nicholson, Cranbrook, B.C.
  88. Barb Robertson, Ottawa, Ontario Canada
  89. Lauren Bryde, Star, NC
  90. Erich Druskat, Mattapoisett, MA
  91. Brandon Cullen, Clyde, OH
  92. dan small, chestertown, md
  93. Jim Flynn, Seattle, WA
  94. kevin bolton, Prospect Park New Jersey
  95. William Burke, Milford,MI
  96. Georgia Conti, Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico
  97. Marlene Jay Cashen, Veradale, Washington
  98. Liston Rice, Houston, TX
  99. dan guthrie, claremont, CA
  100. Nancy Hetrick, Albuquerque, NM
  101. Nicholas Newberry, Oakton, Va
  102. Blake Mathys, Williamstown, NJ
  103. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, Oregon
  104. Paul Glass, South Boston, VA
  105. Matt Dufort, Minneapolis, MN
  106. Yousif Attia, Calgary, AB
  107. Cinda Crosley, Pflugerville, TX
  108. Michael Miller, Chicago, IL
  109. Joel Mundall, Loma Linda, CA
  110. Jennifer Spallin, Ottawa ON
  111. Mark Gawn, Ottawa ON
  112. Nina Stavlund, Ottawa ON
  113. Nancy P., Hamler, Ohio
  114. Ron Pozzi, Granite Bay, CA
  115. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, Oregon
  116. John Shamgochian, East Providence RI
  117. Linda Swanson, San Francisco, 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.

Cape May Warbler
Pine Siskin
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Palm Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Pine Warbler
Kirtland's Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Black-and-white Warbler
Blue Heron
Cerulean Warbler
Sharp-tailed Sparrow
Warbling Vireo


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