Answer to the Tricky Angles photo quiz

The answers to the Tricky Angles photo quiz were mostly correct for the first and last bird in the quiz, but the middle bird had lots of different answers. If you haven’t looked at the quiz, check out the images below before looking at the answers.


The Quiz Photos

The Answers


Bird 1 – Pretty much everyone got this one right. The most prominent feature is the big bold eyeline, and plain brown color, both of which are very indicative of an immature/female Purple Finch. This photo is the same individual in the quiz photo.


Bird 3 – Most people also guessed this bird correctly. The streaky undertail and the yellow in the primaries gave this bird away. It also helped that it was on a feeder, narrowing down the possibilites.


Bird 2 – This is the species that gave everyone trouble. We had 3 votes for Chipping Sparrow, 2 votes for White-crowned Sparrow, 2 for White-throated Sparrow, 2 for sparrow species, one vote for House Sparrow, and one for Fox Sparrow.

The brownish rump and grayish-brown back of the neck should rule out Chipping Sparrow and House Sparrow. Fox Sparrow can similarly be ruled out because it should show both bright red and gray on the neck, back and rump.

This leaves a tricky identification of White-throated vs White-crowned Sparrow. From this angle there is not much to work with so let’s focus on the back-striping. A White-throated Sparrow would show a lot more reddish tones along the back compared to the more brown and gray striping. This leaves White-crowned Sparrow and it is indeed a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow. The photo below is the same individual taken moments after the quiz photo.



I snapped the Purple Finch and White-crowned Sparrow with an iPhone mounted on a Zeiss Diascope 85 with the Meopta Meopix adapter. The Pine Siskin was taken by Andy McGann.