Monday, June 18, 2012
Solution by Tony Leukering
Much of what most birders use to identify small birds such as this one is hidden behind the branch on which this week's quiz bird is perched. This picture, in which face and wings are invisible, forces us to use other features to ID the quiz bird. In fact, however, we can probably even age and sex the bird by the features visible.
The front of the bird is visible, and the black throat and upper-side streaking provide enough to know that we need look among the Parulidae for the solution to the quiz. However, a number of warbler species sport such features, so we'll have to look elsewhere on the bird still. While bill shape might provide a clue or two, we have a perfectly excellent field mark at the back end of the body to utilize. The undertail-coverts pattern of the quiz bird is unique among warblers, with each covert having a substantial black center.
I took this picture of an adult male Black-and-white Warbler in Cape May Point, Cape May Co., NJ, on 20 April 2011.
Tyler Bell is, apparently, a prophetic genius: "The ID might not be so difficult, but I'm guessing that the proper hyphenation/capitalization will trip up a few folks!" Indeed, there were three such submissions, all of which were precluded from being correct for the competition. Two lacked all hyphenation and two capitalized "white."
Incorrect species provided as answers:
Congratulations to the 17 of 17 respondents getting the quiz correct:
Answer: Black-and-white Warbler