Thanks to the 28 people who attempted the quiz. This bird may have been a little easier than the tattler, and 17 of the answers were correct, including one who changed his mind half-way through. Just about everyone saw that this is a tern of some sort, and I think that once the identity is revealed (and the major distinguishing mark is pointed out) you will all see just how straightforward the qiz was this time.
Those of you who included reasoning with your incorrect answers all over complicated the issue, or mixed up the feather tracts. The posture of the bird clearly added to the confusion (well, we didn't want to make it an absolute give away!). What can be seen is that it is a relatively small tern, with reddish legs, a white rump, a short tail and longer dark primaries. The breast is white and wings a few shades of grey darker.
The most important feature is the dark cap, and more precisely the shape of the cap. The bit to the left of the photo, which is actually the back of the head and nape, is shaped like a spade. Behind the eye is another extension of the dark cap (ear-muffs?). Those who got it wrong should have alarm bells ringing now - or perhaps a wave of "Oh, now I see what it is!!". This is a White-winged Black Tern Childonias leucopterus. It is an adult in non-breeding plumage. I'm afraid that Brent hasnt told me where and when it was taken, but I think it was in Hawkes Bay in early 2009. There is another, more helpful, photo which I hope Neil will edit in here since I cannot make it work!!!
[here it is - NF]
Incorrect answers included Fairy, Common, Arctic, White-fronted and Black-fronted Terns, and Franklin's Gull.
There are 6 of you who have both the first 2 Mystery Birds correct. The next quiz will start on October 1st.
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Oops, what a plonker! If you could see my face now its bright red!
- Neil Fitzgerald
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- Brent Stephenson
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