Quiz 32 – Warblers from below

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This quiz shows warblers as they are so often seen in the field – with just the underside of the body visible. Clues such as tail shape, overall size, behavior and other subtleties can be very helpful with experience. In this quiz I focus on the more objective features of plumage.

When all you can see is the belly, flanks, and tail of a warbler, take note of tail pattern, any streaking, and the overall pattern of dark/light and bright/drab. You should be able to identify most species by matching those patterns to the pictures in the guide, and with practice you will recognize more and more warblers from these small clues.

With thanks, again, to Brian E. Small for providing the beautiful photos. You can see lots more at his website.

More Warblers

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Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
A
Magnolia Warbler
B
Northern Parula
C
Yellow-rumped Warbler
D
Blackburnian Warbler
Question 1 Explanation: 
Northern Parula - the combination of yellow breast with unstreaked gray-white belly and flanks is unique to Parula. In the partly obscured view above the blue-gray wings with two short white wingbars help confirm the species.
Question 2
A
Yellow-rumped Warbler
B
Magnolia Warbler
C
Northern Parula
D
American Redstart
Question 2 Explanation: 
Yellow-rumped Warbler - This is a male, and the pattern of blackish streaks on the flanks and breast, leaving a tapered white belly patch is unique to Yellow-rumped. And of course the bright yellow patches on the sides of the breast are distinctive as well.
Question 3
A
Northern Parula
B
Magnolia Warbler
C
Yellow-rumped Warbler
D
Prairie Warbler
Question 3 Explanation: 
Magnolia Warbler - The pattern on the tail, white at the base and black at the tip, is unique and you don't need to see anything else to identify this bird. Also, no other eastern warbler has such thick black streaks on bright yellow flanks (Townsend's is similar in the west, but the tail is almost entirely white from below).
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3 thoughts on “Quiz 32 – Warblers from below”

  1. I’ve found these quizzes very enjoyable. I’m used to seeing glorious frontal pictures of warblers in guides, but can get a little confused in the field when views are often straight-up. Ahh, warbler neck…

  2. I have to agree with Frank I have been enjoying these quizzes. Not living in the States I am trying to learn my American Birds, in particular Warblers and New World Sparrows. I used to live on Martha’s Vineyard in the 80’s when I was in my 20’s and have now decided to learn any bird that I might see there on my next visit. So keep up the good work.
    PS My bedside reading is your Eastern North American Guide.

  3. Followed a lead to you site and I am thrilled! I really have been looking for a way to practice identifying birds in practical ways before going out into the field here in Idaho. Thank you!

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