ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 97


Bird Photo
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This month's quiz ducks – and ducks they are, as evidenced by the patterned flank feathers – are, by those same patterned flank feathers, almost certainly dabbling ducks. Of course, as the left one is inverted into the water in the manner of a dabbling duck foraging, let's go with it. Once we get to thinking about the various dabbler options, we might notice our birds' green specula and opine, "Yow, this one's easy: Green-winged Teal!"

Unfortunately, it's not that easy, as there are features that do not match an ID of Green-winged Teal. In the identification process, not only do we need to determine what field characters a bird has that point to a given ID, we also need to determine what field characters that a bird possesses that rule out other species. In that vein, the features that argue against an ID of Green-winged Teal are many and include, particularly, the whitish tail, the lack of a yellowish patch at the base of the tail, and the orange legs… er… leg. This, then, is the reason behind the use of this picture in the quiz: A surprising number of birders do not know that all ABA-area teal have green specula, as do both wigeons and Northern Pintail. “Green-winged Teal” is not a very ID-helpful name.

The left bird shows just a bit of its left leg and that bit is bright orange; Green-winged Teal (both Old World and New World) sport dark legs, as does Garganey. Blue-winged and Cinnamon teal have pale legs, but they do not usually get this bright. Baikal Teal have gray or grayish-yellow legs. Additionally, most of the tail of the left bird is white, a feature at odds with nearly all dabbling ducks. Mallards have bright orange legs and white tails, but their specula are blue. However, iridescent colors are tricky – could the green just be a trick of the light with a structural color? While certainly possible, the trailing edge of the speculum visible on the right bird rules Mallard out – it lacks the wide, white terminal band of that species.

What's left is the biggest teal of them all. I took this picture of two female Northern Shovelers at Cape May Point State Park, Cape May Co., NJ, on 13 November 2010.


The following people (listed by submission date beginning with the earliest) submitted correct answers for the April Bird Photo Quiz—Northern Shoveler:

  1. Lauren Bryde, Star, NC
  2. Greg Neise, Berwyn, IL
  3. Dean Nicholson, Cranbrook, B.C.
  4. Ed Harper, Carmichael, CA
  5. Monica Nugent, New Westminster, BC
  6. Jeremy Medina, Tucson, AZ
  7. Barb Duncan, Jefferson City, MO
  8. Amanda Auger, Portland, OR
  9. Brandon Percival, Pueblo West, Colorado
  10. Terry O'Connor, Indianapolis,Indiana
  11. Daroczi J. Szilard, Tg.-Mures, Romania
  12. Marcelo Brongo, Sant Cugat del Vallès, SPAIN
  13. Tristan Weinbrenner, McPherson, KS
  14. Jameson Weinbrenner, McPherson, KS
  15. Larry Kline, Fredericksburg, VA
  16. Caity Reiland-Smith, Sioux Falls, SD
  17. John Shamgochian, East Providence RI
  18. Benjamin Shamgochian, East providence, RI
  19. Xinyu Zhu, Vancouver, BC
  20. Sarah T., Ann Arbor, MI
  21. Michael Kline, Fredericksburg , Va.
  22. Philip Kline, Tucson, AZ
  23. Max Wilson, Kensington, MD
  24. Marc Ribaudo, Woodbridge, VA
  25. Pam Myers, Santa Cruz, CA
  26. Don Pendleton, East Palo Alto, CA
  27. Peter Scully, Anchorage, AK
  28. Merrill Bent, South Royalton, VT
  29. Andrew Guttenberg, Bozeman, MT
  30. Patty McKelvey, Sheffield Village, Ohio
  31. Lucie Bruce, Houston, TX
  32. Kara Carragher, Colorado Springs, CO
  33. Nicholas Newberry, Oakton, Va
  34. Anton Mach, Yardley, PA
  35. Mark Rosenstein, Cambridge, MA
  36. Matthew Caligiure, Santa Barbara, CA
  37. Jim Ross, Pleasanton, CA.
  38. Wayne Meyer, Denison, TX
  39. Robert Meehan, Durham, NC
  40. Claude Auchu, La Pocatiere, Quebec
  41. Dan , barrigada, guam
  42. Richard Jeffers, Santa Clara, CA
  43. Deana Gadd, Miramichi, New Brunswick,Canada
  44. Rosemarie Widmer, Allendale NJ 07401
  45. Thomas Hall, Livermore, CO
  46. Olivier Barden, Quebec City, Qc
  47. John Hammond, Durham, NC
  48. Robert Packard, Riverside, CA
  49. Joshua Kamp, Marne, MI
  50. Vince Cavalieri, DeWitt, MI
  51. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  52. Brandon Cullen, Clyde, OH
  53. Graham Etherington, Norwich, UK
  54. Alexandre Anctil, Rimouski, Québec
  55. Pam Baum, Tucson, AZ
  56. Linda Swanson, San Francisco, CA
  57. Scott Gilmore, Lantzville, British Columbia
  58. Kim Boddie, Bend, OR
  59. Su Snyder, Wooster, OH
  60. Miriam Rognlie, Bozeman MT
  61. Karl Erich Mayer, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  62. Darrel Wilder, Johnson City, TN
  63. William Rockey, Davis, CA
  64. Jessica Gorzo, Central, SC
  65. Joshua Hodge, Hattiesburg, MS
  66. Benoit Dorion, Laval, Quebec, Canada
  67. Greg Schrott, Avon Park, FL
  68. Terri Everett, Big Rapids, MI
  69. Stephanie Moore, Seattle, WA
  70. Michael Miller, Chicago, IL
  71. Nancy Hetrick, Albuquerque, NM
  72. Diane Porter, Fairfield, Iowa
  73. Ellery McClintock, Montrose, Colorado
  74. Robert McNab, Laguna Niguel, CA
  75. Cody Law, Grimsby,Ontario,Canada
  76. Greg Zupansic, Eugene, Oregon
  77. Lyn Imperial, Middletown, DE
  78. Kayla P. , Hamler, OH
  79. Nancy P., Hamler, OH
  80. Ruthie Stearns, Lincoln, NE
  81. Eric Antonio Martinez, Oaxaca Mexico
  82. Nathaniel Hernandez, Great Meadows, NJ
  83. Silas Hernandez, Great Meadows, NJ
  84. Mary Walsh, Valencia, CA
  85. James McKay, Mesa, AZ
  86. Stephen Joly, Kamloops, BC
  87. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, Oregon
  88. Joel Mundall, Loma Linda, CA
  89. Bobby Walsh, Davis, 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.

Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Mottled Duck
Common Teal
Northern Pintail
Long-tailed Duck


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