Monday, January 3, 2011
Click on picture(s) for a larger view.
Answer by Tony Leukering and a host of special guests
Among warblers, undertail patterns are very useful in identification, and this week's quiz bird has a very distinctive one. If you don't believe me, then how about...
Bryan Guarente: "... all-white tail dipped halfway in black ink...."
or Tyler Bell: "... undertail pattern is pretty unique...."
or Marcel Such: "Well, we can deal with this bird in one swipe by looking at the underside of the tail."
or Margie Joy: "But, the distinctive undertail pattern... is probably all I really need to ID this bird."
or Nick Moore: "Half black and half white...."
or Chishun Kwong: "Once we agree that it is a warbler, just the undertail pattern will take us directly...."
The Peterson Warblers guide presents what I think is one of the very best plates in all bird-bookdom: the plate by Tom Schultz showing just the underside of the tail and the undertail coverts of every ABA-area warbler. A birder that knows those cold will rarely leave a bird unidentified from only a look straight up at the bird overhead. While our quiz subject has a plethora of useful field marks (pale eye ring, wing bars, black streaking on yellow underparts, and contrastingly bright white vent and undertail coverts), as many respondents noted, all we need is that unique tail to get to the correct ID.
I took this picture of an adult male Magnolia Warbler at Cape May Point, Cape May Co., NJ, on 25 September 2010.
Incorrect species provided as answers:
Pine Warbler - 1
Congratulations to the 27 of 28 getting the quiz correct:
Answer: Magnolia Warbler