Birding Skills

Quiz 25: Wing patterns

Update: Congratulations to Alvan, the winner of the Backyard Birds poster. Thanks to all who took the quiz and entered. The response was fantastic, and keep watching for another prize giveaway in the near future. Today’s quiz introduces a new feature – a prize! If you get all three questions correct, be sure to click …

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Quiz 24: Wing Patterns

With thanks to the online wing collection of the Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound for allowing the use of their wing photos. With thanks, again, to Brian E. Small for providing the beautiful photos. You can see lots more at his website, and clicking any of his photos links there as well.

Quiz 23: Wing patterns

With thanks to the online wing collection of the Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound for allowing the use of their wing photos. With thanks, again, to Brian E. Small for providing the beautiful photos. You can see lots more at his website, and clicking any of his photos links there as well.

Quiz 22: Wing patterns

With thanks to the online wing collection of the Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound for allowing the use of their wing photos. With thanks, again, to Brian E. Small for providing the beautiful photos. You can see lots more at his website, and clicking any of his photos links there as well.

All wings are the same, in some ways

Here is a quiz with three very different wings, and a detailed explanation follows (don’t peek). With thanks to the online wing collection of the Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound for allowing the use of these photos.

Wings, above and below

Most birds have a very different pattern on the upperside and underside of their wings. On the coverts (the leading edge of the wing) this is easily explained because we are looking at entirely different feathers above and below. On the primaries and secondaries, however, there is just a single layer of feathers. How can …

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What is the submoustachial?

The feathers along the side of the lower jaw have a very confusing history of terminology. They’ve been called the malar stripe (in many early and mid 20th century bird books), the submoustachial ((Because this was a British proposal, the spelling is British “moustache” rather than the American “mustache”, and American bird guides have continued …

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Quiz 15: The submoustachial

Regardless of what you call them – submoustachial, malar, jaw stripe, mandibular stripe – the feathers along the side of the lower jaw are important for identification. Being able to distinguish this group of feathers, and confidently describe their color, is one of the trickiest and most useful skills in understanding head feathers. Hopefully this …

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