Monday, March 26, 2012

Quiz #442 (2012-1-12) Solution

Click on picture(s) for a larger view.

Solution by Tony Leukering

The solid-colored back and barring on the sides on this week's quiz woodpecker might suggest Black-backed Woodpecker, but it would have to be a leucistic one for the back to be so obviously brown. However, the red nape patch rules that option out, leaving us just one choice in the ABA Area. Were this quiz to include species found south through Mexico, we would actually have another woodpecker with which to contend in this bird's ID. However, even then, the similar Strickland's Woodpecker has a patch of brown-barred white on the back that would have immediately ruled out that possibility. I took this picture of a male Arizona Woodpecker at Madera Canyon, Arizona, in mid-August 2006.

This week's quiz was primarily a nomenclatural one, rather than one of identification. That is because the arbiter of North American bird nomenclature, the American Ornithologists' Union, has changed the moniker under which we birders call this beast a number of times. Once or twice, those changes have been due the changing of our understanding of the species-level relationship of what we now call Arizona Woodpecker with the central-Mexican species known as Strickland's Woodpecker. At least one respondent caught himself from the knee-jerk reaction of submitting an answer of "Strickland's Woodpecker" in time to submit the correct answer; it was not very long ago, that the third edition of the National Geographic Society field guide was published listing Strickland's Woodpecker as the name of the beast that occurs in the ABA Area.

For further of on my thoughts on this species' nomenclature and identification, see my solution to the March 2012 ABA online photo quiz ( when it becomes available.

Now that the quarter is over and April has arrived, it is time to award the prize -- a year's membership in the Colorado Field Ornithologists (and receipt of its journal, Colorado Birds) -- to the winner of the first quarterly competition in 2012. While it was a hard-fought battle for most of the way, Ben Coulter sailed through the reef of recent difficult quiz pictures without running aground, so wins the prize with 11 of 12 quizzes correct. Robert McNab was one correct quiz behind. Congratulations, Ben!

Incorrect species provided as answers:
Congrats -- there were none!

Congratulations to the 27 respondents getting the quiz correct:
Ben Coulter
Tyler Bell
Thomas Hall
Patty McKelvey
Jeff Witters
Logan Kahle
Sean Walters
Pam Myers
George Cresswell
Megan Miller
Burke Angstman
Su Snyder
Chuck Carlson
Bill Blackburn
Kirk Huffstater
Peter Wilkinson
Margie Joy
Buzz Schaumberg
Nick Komar
Robert McNab
Margaret Smith
Gary Koehn
Diane Porter
James Kopitzke
Chishun Kwong
Bryan Guarente
Joe Bens
Answer: Arizona Woodpecker