Monday, June 25, 2012
Solution by Tony Leukering
Our quiz bird is flying at us, and one of the features that jumps out is the two bands on the chest. Ah, Killdeer. Unfortunately, things aren't quite that straightforward because, despite David Sibley's comment in his guide about the Killdeer's "two dark bands unique," they are not. There is another species covered in that guide that also has two dark chest bands. Granted, it's not a shorebird, which is probably what David was implying, but many might infer from those words that it was absolutely unique. The other species to consider is Belted Kingfisher, and a female of the species at that.
Comparing the features of the two really point out the amazing number of features that the two species share. In addition to the two dark bands, their underparts are otherwise nearly entirely white, the dark auriculars contrast with a white lower face, there is white above and in front of the eye, and they have extensive white bases to the primaries. While some respondents would have gotten to the correct answer on the strength of minor aspects of head pattern, the most obvious separating character is one that, perhaps, no one studied on this quiz picture: the tail. The underside of Killdeer's folded tail is nearly entirely white, thanks to the extensive white on that species' outermost rectrices. Thus, from the lower dark band on the chest, Killdeer shows white on the underside all the way to the tail tip. Conversely, Belted Kingfisher's tail is primarily dark and contrasts with the bird's white vent and undertail coverts.
I took this picture of a female Belted Kingfisher at the hawkwatch platform at Cape May Point S. P., Cape May Co., NJ, on 9 September 2011. One incorrect respondent's answer lacked a capitalized 'k.'
With this quiz being the final quiz of the quarter, it is time to award the quarterly prize, a year's membership in the Colorado Field Ornithologists and receipt of its quarterly journal, Colorado Birds. Two regulars tied this quarter with perfect 13-of-13 scores, Ben Coulter and Robert McNab. So, the toss of the coin results in...
the winner being Robert McNab! Congrats to Robert for finally breaking through for a win after being high on the leader board for many, many quarters! Richard Jeffers came in a very close second with 12 of 12 submitted answers correct.
Incorrect species provided as answer(s):
Killdeer - 4
Congratulations to the 16 of 20 getting the quiz correct:
Answer: Belted Kingfisher