Utah Birds
Photo Quiz Answer

      Quiz # 004  (September 2010)




Well this month we are working with a hummingbird.   I have to admit that I chose to do an immature/female hummingbird because I am in need of some serious work in that department.   It is so easy to just ignore the female or juvenile hummers at feeders because males are so much more beautiful and easy to ID.  But if a rare hummer ever shows up there is a high probability that it will be a juvenile or female and with a bit of work they can be identified as well. 

Anyway, on to our quiz bird.  So this bird is obviously a hummingbird.  Since doesn’t have a gorget (throat patch) and the overall drab color we know it is either a female or a juvenile male.

Bill shape & length varies between the species, but with our bird facing away it is hard to judge the bill.  We have a great look at the tail, so let’s start there.  Broad-tailed and Rufus always have some reddish-brown in the tail, which our bird does not.  Calliope Hummingbird is possible, but there are a few small differences in the tail.  The center 2 feathers should appear shorter and also should be a bit spade- shape, where on our bird they appear rounded.  Immature Calliopes also should show a bit of cinnamon at the base of the tail feathers.  

Our bird has white tips on all except the center tail feathers.  Comparing all the tails on all immature and female hummingbirds that occur in Utah, only 1 has white on 4 feathers per side (R2-R5, 1 being the innermost and 5 the outer), the Black-chinned.  More specifically, the immature female Black-chinned.  Immature female Ruby-throated may have a bit of white on R2 as well, but normally less than shown here.  Also there are some shape differences in the tail feathers as well.   

All of this info is found in the Peterson Field Guides Hummingbirds of North America.

15 people correctly identified this bird as a Black-chinned Hummingbird.  It was photographed in August in Elk Ridge, Utah.


Correct Answers (in order received):
1.     Norma Jenson
2.     Justin Shirley
3.     Sylvia Gray
4.     Melanie Hoffman
5.     Weston Smith
6.     Bill Fenimore
7.     Eric Huish
8.     Tim McGreal
9.     Darren Shirley
10.   Dennis Shirley
11.   Jeff Bogan
12.   Martha Happ
13.   Stephen Peterson
14.   Jerry Liguori
15.   Ryan O’Donnell

Incorrect Answers:
     Calliope Hummingbird - 3
     Costa’s Hummingbird - 1
     Ruby-throated Hummingbird - 1