Birder's Guide

NOV 2013

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Seattle, Washington vireolanius@live.com Alan Knue A female White-collared Seedeater shared with in Laredo, Texas. Is it really a Eurasia (longNew World sparrow? Read spurs) and others further to fnd out! that are better reprePhoto © Greg sented in Eurasia and even Lasley. reach Africa (fringillid fnches and Old World buntings). All of the species in these groups have one important thing in common: nine functional primary feathers. (However, they possess a reduced and hidden 10th primary, so they are really 10-primaried, like the majority of other passerines [Hall 2005].) Looking past this one uniting feature, we see a huge assemblage of birds which is very diverse! These birds have been grouped and classifed by bill type and function, and the major groupings are: 1• New World Warblers (a.k.a. wood-warblers or parulids). Thin, pointed bills designed for probing for insects. 2• Icterids (a.k.a. New World orioles and blackbirds). Long, pointed, conical bills that are often employed in gaping. 3• Emberizids (New World sparrows, towhees, longspurs, Old World buntings). Small, short, conical bills for eating seeds. 4• Cardinalids (a.k.a. cardinal-grosbeaks). Large, thick, conical bills for crushing seeds. November 2013 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy 13

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