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kevin's id tips

Separating the Dowitchers

These two very similar species have long been regarded by experts as unidentifiable in many field conditions unless their distinctive calls are heard. Recent careful assessment of subtle differences in structure and bill shape has allowed us to identify most birds in all plumages.   Click here for ID tips.





Is it a Greater or Lesser Scaup?

These two very similar ducks share similar plumage features and only vary slightly in size, with Greater Scaup being slightly larger. Careful assessment of their subtle head shape and neck thickness differences will eventually lead to a recognition of these differences, even with single birds. While Greater Scaup has a bigger bill on average, the smaller head and thinner neck of Lesser Scaup may give you the impression of it having a relatively large bill like a Greater.  Click here for ID tips.

Immature Black-crowned or Yellow-crowned Night-Heron?

Two night-herons share somewhat similar body shapes and structural features and have comparable juvenile/immature plumage for most of their first year.  With careful study, you will notice subtle to obvious differences in body and bill shape as well as plumage features. Juvenile plumage may be referred to as immature plumage after August due to a slightly different appearance caused by feather wear, even though the feathers are the same.  Click here for ID tips. 

Couch's or Tropical Kingbird?

These two very similar kingbirds have traditionally been considered inseparable in the field unless heard calling. Recent study has given us a few structural guidelines that are useful in separating some silent birds.   Click here for ID tips.

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