As always, the “Just for Fun Avian ID Quiz” is brought to you by Jory Langner, our esteemed Avian Quizmaster.
Wednesday we started this week’s quiz by publishing a single clue. We said it was possible to guess the identity of the answer with that single clue. Congratulations to Jason who had the correct answer (and thanks to Harry, Patrick and John for guessing). The clue of “!” is clearly a field mark of the Mountain Quail, with that “thing” on its head though Roseate Spoonbill, Wild Turkey, and American Bittern were certainly good guesses.
The extra credit question was “What is that ‘thing’ and what do they use it for?” No one has given any suggestions about this. I have researched and cannot find any answers. Any help on this one?
Stay tuned for another quiz next week.
“When in heightened state of nervous inquisitiveness, adult quail perform Step-and-Bow Display, making unusually high, slow, deliberate steps with feet and legs while simultaneously reaching toward the ground with beak as if to forage. Rather than foraging, quail stops with beak one to several centimeters above the ground, then quickly jerks head back to a high, upright, alert position. Plume held upright throughout display, adding to the exaggerated up-and-down movement of the head.
“Position of plume indicates emotion of bird (McLean 1930, Delehanty 1997, RJG). Held up and back at 45° when feeding and moving unconcerned. When hiding, crest is lowered and plume held against back. When excited, plume held erect (90°) or slightly forward and crest feathers erect.”
Thanks for posting this information (I don’t have, yet, BNA).
The plume seems to act an emotional thermometer. Very cool.