Image: Rick Wright.
This mystery bird quiz has a twist: Name ten other bird species that share this mystery bird’s habitat. Or, to put it another way, if you see this species while out birding, what other species are likely to also appear on your bird list for this area? Hint: to answer this quiz, you have to correctly identify this bird, learn where its range is and identify the type of habitat it lives in, and then you can name at least ten other bird species that you will likely find in the same area.
Rick Wright, Managing Director of WINGS Birding Tours Worldwide, writes:
No doubt there’s a bird in there, but it’s a bit hard to see against the evening sky. But once we’ve picked it out, it’s a straightforward identification: a lanky, strong-footed creature with a powerful, “generalist” bill — and a crest that would make a peacock proud. A really careful look will reveal an extravagantly long tail with a generous dollop of white on the edge.
This is a Black-throated Magpie-Jay, a bird that breeds commonly within 9 hours’ drive of the US border (and can be seen as escaped cagebirds in southern California). The identification is not much of a challenge, so let’s vary the question: What other species does this dramatic bird share its tropical deciduous forest habitat with? What other birds are lurking just beyond the edges of the photo? The question is important. If you don’t know what to expect when you enter a new habitat, you’re that much less likely to leave it having seen anything.
So name, say, 10 other species that inhabit this jay’s home forest, and give yourself extra credit for each one with a range as restricted as the magpie-jay.
Review all mystery birds to date.
GrrlScientist comment: here are my guesses:
White-throated Magpie-jay, Calocitta formosa
Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Empidonax difficilis
Costa’s Hummingbird, Calypte costae
Black-chinned Hummingbird, Archilochus alexandri
Hairy Woodpecker, Picoides villosus
Streak-backed Oriole, Icterus pustulatus
Yellow Grosbeak, Pheucticus chrysopeplus
Blue Grosbeak, Guiraca caerulea
Varied Bunting, Passerina versicolor
Turquoise-browed Motmot, Eumomota superciliosa
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Camptostoma imberbe
Common Ground-Dove, Columbina passerina
Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Picoides scalaris
Verdin, Auriparus flaviceps
Bell’s Vireo, Vireo bellii