Answer to Pop BirdQuiz 11: New Jersey, July

 

Birdquiz June
We don’t always see birds from the ‘field guide angle’, do we? The field guides typically show birds from a side view, giving informative views of the bill, body shape, and wing plumage. Here’s an example where we have a mostly head-on view, revealing birds that display only black and white plumage (from this angle), an orange bill, and relatively short orange legs. The birds form a tight flock on the shoreline of some large body of water, helping to narrow down the possibilities. The short legs help to eliminate one species that these birds might be confused with, American Oystercatcher, which also has long orange bill and is mostly black and white from a frontal view. The two birds that have their heads pointed slightly off-center help to get a better view of its bill shape and length and reveal a black tip to the bill, which combine to give our major clue.  Another view of the flock after slight rearrangement of the individuals finally provides a classic field guide side view, revealing the elongated body and black-and-orange bill of Black Skimmers.
Birdquiz June answer

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