It’s Saturday.  That means it’s time for the answer to last Wednesday’s “A Doozy of a Just For Fun Avian ID Quiz“.

This last quiz was a bit different from previous quizzes.  I hope you enjoyed it.

First of all, thanks and congratulations to the following folks who either answered correctly or agreed with those that did: Rob, Mike Powers, chrissy, and Grant McCreary

Let’s go through the questions one by one.

1. The five species are the only ones to share this last name.

A detailed look at an ABA checklist looking at only regularly occurring species (ABA codes 1-3) will yield a list of seven “last” names that have exactly five species:

Quail: Mountain, Scaled, California, Gambel’s, Montezuma
Loon: Red-throated, Arctic, Pacific, Common, Yellow-billed
Kite: Hook-billed, Swallow-tailed, White-tailed, Snail, Mississippi
Rail: Yellow, Black, Clapper, King, Virginia
Murrelet: Marbled, Kittlitz’s, Xantus’s, Craveri’s, Ancient
Grosbeak: Rose-breasted, Black-headed, Blue, Pine, Evening
Blackbird: Red-winged, Tricolored, Yellow-headed, Rusty, Brewer’s

2. The first names of all five species have a different number of letters (ignoring all apostrophes, dashes, etc).

The groups that had different number of letters in the “first” names are Quail, Rail and Blackbird.  All the others had duplicates.

3. The number of letters in each of the first names is sequential.  For example the five first names might have 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 letters.

Surprisingly, there are actually two groups where the first “names” have a sequential number of letters.
Quail: 6,7,8,9,10
Rail: 4,5,6,7,8

4. I have seen two of the five species in NY, the only two that reliably occur and are easily seen in NY.

Quail: To say the least, none of these birds are reliable or easily seen in NY.  None of them are on the official New York State checklist.

Rail: Virginia and Clapper are both reliable and easy to identify in NY in the right habitat.

Clapper Rail at the Marine Nature Study Area, Oceanside, NY

5. Next year I hope to travel out of state to identify all three missing species.  It seems that there are some areas where they all occur at the same time in the same place.

Yellow, Black and King are the three missing species.  According to range maps, they overlap in many places in the southeast US.

QUESTION: What one location would you recommend that I go to identify all three missing species and at what time of year?

From the comments, Rob recommended Anahuac NWR in Texas during the CBC and Mike thought the Everglades at the same time of year would be good to find the mystery birds and both are correct.

Now that the three species have been identified, are there any other suggestions on where to go and when?

The next quiz will be easier, I promise.

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