A Periodic Puzzler for Those Wishing to Test Their Knowledge of Species Identification and Natural History

The Natural Knowledge Quiz covers topics of wildlife identification, behavior and natural history. Click on any of the question bars to view the photo for that question. When you think you know the answer, click on the "answer" bar below the photo to see if you are correct.

New questions will be added regularly, so check back often!

 

Question 2-
Can you identify this bird?
Mystery Bird
Answer

The bird is a fledgling Brown-headed Cowbird. Cowbirds often exhibit parasitic nesting behavior, laying their eggs in nests of other species. These "host" birds then end up hatching the eggs and raising the cowbird's young. The youngster in the photograph was being cared for by White-crowned Sparrows. Below you can see an adult male (left) and female (right) Brown-headed Cowbird.


Brown-headed Cowbird

Question 1-
Can you identify this bird?
Hint- The photo was taken in November on Puget Sound in WA State.
Mystery Bird 1
Answer

This is a male Surf Scoter in his first year. He has just started to make the change from juvenile to adult plumage. The bird in the photo on the left below is also a first year Surf Scoter. This photo was taken in mid-december and the bird is starting to look more like an adult. The photo on the right shows a male Surf Scoter in full adult plumage.

Male Surf Scoter