ABA Photo Quiz

ABA Online Bird Photo Quiz 98


Bird Photo
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This month’s quiz bird has orangey-yellow underparts and a black tail. Additionally, at least the underside of the head is black. A fine point that many might have missed are the bluish legs. While we might have hunted through various passerine families looking for a yellow-bellied, black-headed, and black-tailed bird, the bluish legs rules out all but nuthatches, Cactus Wren, vireos, and orioles. And the bird is obviously not a vireo or a nuthatch, nor is it a Cactus Wren. Ah, leg color; my favorite overlooked field mark. Our bird’s longish and thin bill can certainly provide a confirming character for the family to which leg color took us.

A brief glance at the wing might suggest that it sports a large white panel, a la Bullock’s Oriole, but since we’re looking at those greater coverts just about, edge on, we should be cautious about accepting that appearance as fact. Looking at the tail confirms that caution, as Bullock’s Oriole exhibits a mostly orange tail. The tail also provides us with almost all the rest of the information that we need to correctly identify our quiz bird, with the caveat, of course, that there are plenty more species of orioles to consider if we were not restricted to the list of ABA-area species.

The strongly graduated tail and extensive pale tips should leave us only two options, Spot-breasted and Hooded. However, any plumage of Spot-breasted Oriole that has a black tail, should also be much more orange below and have, uh, black spots on the breast.

I took this picture – specifically for this quiz – of an adult male Hooded Oriole of the western subspecies nelsoni at Cantamar, Baja California, Mexico, on 30 December 2010. Adult males of more easterly races that occur in the ABA Area are much more orange than this.


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

  1. Andrew Fayer, Fort Washington, PA
  2. Laure Neish, Penticton, BC Canada
  3. Claude Auchu, La Pocatiere, Quebec
  4. Monica Nugent, New Westminster, BC
  5. Olivier Barden, Quebec City, Qc
  6. John Shamgochian, East Providence RI
  7. Benjamin Shamgochian, East providence, RI
  8. Terry O'Connor, Indianapolis, Indiana
  9. Stephanie Moore, Seattle, WA
  10. Pam Myers, Santa Cruz, CA
  11. Cj Spencer, St Petersburg, fl
  12. Dan, barrigada, guam
  13. Wayne Meyer, Denison, TX
  14. Sarah Huson, The Woodlands, TX
  15. Steve Hampton, Davis, CA
  16. Richard Laughlin, Spring, TX
  17. Patty McKelvey, Sheffield Village, Ohio
  18. Andrew Guttenberg, Bozeman, MT
  19. Brandon Cullen, Clyde, OH
  20. Tom Benson, San Bernardino, CA
  21. Ross Schaefer, Atascadero, CA
  22. Alexandre Anctil, Rimouski, Quebec
  23. Robert McNab, Laguna Niguel, CA
  24. Robert Meehan, Durham, NC
  25. William Rockey, Davis, CA
  26. Mike Fialkovich, Pittsburgh, PA
  27. Karl Erich Mayer, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  28. Linda Swanson, San Francisco, CA
  29. Michael Kline, Fredericksburg Va.
  30. Kayla P., Hamler, OH
  31. Nancy P., Hamler, OH
  32. Annie Meyer, Tacoma, WA
  33. Barb Robertson, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  34. Olaf Soltau, New Preston, CT
  35. Greg Neise, Berwyn, IL
  36. John Kuenzli, Columbus, OH
  37. Michael Miller, Chicago, IL
  38. Sam, Netherlands, ITC
  39. James W. Beck, Broussard, LA
  40. Benoit Dorion, Laval, Quebec, Canada
  41. Laura Sexson, Indianapolis, IN
  42. Gretchen Rohde, Leavenworth, WA
  43. Kim Savides, Chardon, OH
  44. Greg Schrott, Avon Park, FL
  45. Spallin Jay, Ottawa, ON
  46. Terri Everett, Big Rapids, MI
  47. Matthew Schneider, Silverton, Oregon
  48. Mary Walsh, Valencia, 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.

Hooded Oriole
Audubon's Oriole
Scott's Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole
Streak-backed Oriole
Hooded Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Bullock's Oriole
Kentucky Warbler
Western Meadowlark


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