Ornithology 3 A&B Summary (Fall 2014)

If you miss a class, please check this page and study the listed topics in your field guide. Click here for last semester's calendar.

Note: Please park in the Hayes Street Parking lot. All spaces are available except disabled and drop off for the child care center. If the lot is full and you park in the Grove Street lot you will likely get a parking ticket unless you display the temporary parking passes which are available to all registered students. These passes must be stamped by the John Adams office which closes at 7:30pm!

Class notes by Elisabeth Koster are here. (Plumage and molt terminology here. )
Please register at
eBird and email me your eBird ID. I can then offer to share field trip lists with you.

Click here for a summary of bird name changes from the 55th AOU supplement.
Click here for a summary of bird name changes from the 54th AOU supplement.
My bird and wildlife photos from Australia are here.
Video of my lecture on the diversity and evolution of hummingbirds.


December 2, 2014
We plan to complete and review the flycatchers on pages 326 & 328.

Click here, here and here for my photos of Tufted Flycatcher in Costa Rica including taxonomic notes.
Click here for my photo of an Olive-sided Flycatcher at Briones Regional Park.
Click here for my account with photos of a Greater Pewee in the Imperial Valley. Click here, here, here here and here for photos of other Greater Pewees in California. Click here for a photo of claimed Greater Pewee on the Farallons in June 1998 (record not accepted).
Click here for my account with photo of an Eastern Wood-Pewee at Point Reyes in June 1998. Click here for songs and sonograms of two different Eastern Wood-Pewees in California in 1998. Click here for a photo of a claimed Eastern Wood-Pewee on the Farallons (record not accepted). Click here for an accepted record of Eastern Wood-Pewee in Solano County.

Additional Reading (not all is Gospel, but interesting points): Lee, Cin-Ty, Andrew Birch, and Ted Lee Eubanks. 2008. Field identification of Eastern & Western Wood Pewees Birding 40(5):34-40) (PDF)


November 25, 2014
We reviewed the woodpeckers on pages 322 & 324 and started the flycatchers on page 326.
November 18, 2014
We completed the woodpeckers on pages 322 & 324.

Click here for a photo of an American Three-toed Woodpecker in Alaska.
Click here for my photo of a Northern Flicker from California. A Northern Flicker (intergrade) is here.
Gilded Flickers may be distinguished from intergrade Yellow-shafted x Red-shafted flickers by the Gilded's more extensive black on the underside of the tail, more oblong ventral spots, paler coloration and overall smaller size.
An article on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker by Sibley et al. in the journal Science is here. Rebuttal is here. Perspective by Jerome Jackson published in the Auk is here.
My Pileated Woodpecker photo from Florida. Photos of a Pileated Woodpecker at Lake Solano Park are here.

Recommended Reading:


November 11, 2014
We completed and reviewed the woodpeckers on page 320.

Downy/Hairy ID tips are here. Sibley's illustrated essay on eyespots on the Downy Woodpecker is here.
Hairy & Downy Woodpeckers at North Lake. Additional Hairy Woodpecker with yellow outer tail-feathers.
Downy Woodpecker photos and notes here and here.


November 4, 2014
We completed and reviewed the woodpeckers on page 318.

Click here, here, here, and here for my photos of Nuttall's Woodpeckers. Additional photo by Peter Seubert.
Click here for photo and discussion of a dark female Ladder-backed Woodpecker superficially resembling Nuttall's Woodpecker. Click here for my photo with commentary of a more typical female Ladder-backed Woodpecker in Texas.

Parking permits for part B now available for download above.


October 28, 2014
We completed and reviewed the sapsuckers on page 316.

Click here for a photo of a Red-breasted Sapsucker (S. r. ruber) in San Francisco. My photo of a Red-breasted Sapsucker at North Lake is here and Coyote Point is here.
Click here for my photo of an immature Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Tilden Park, and here for a photo of an adult Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Inverness, Marin County. Additional Yellow-bellied Sapsucker photos are here, here, here here here here and here.
Female Red-naped Sapsucker in Pacifica here and here. My photo of a Red-naped Sapsucker at Ione, Amadore County, California is here. Detailed discussion and photos of a Red-naped Sapsucker in San Francisco with extra red on its face, and an apparent female Red-naped Sapsucker without visible white on its throat are here. Also a photo of an apparent hybrid is included. An additional Red-naped Sapsucker photo is here. Click here for additional photos of an apparent hybrid between Red-breasted Sapsucker and Red-naped Sapsucker in Milpitas. Click here for photos of the mystery sapsucker from Strybing Arboretum. I agree that it appears to be a hybrid Red-breasted X Red-naped Sapsucker. Click here for an article with a sapsucker hybrid index. This bird scores between 3 and 5. Additional article on identifying hybrid sapsuckers.

Note: This was the last class for the quarter. EA125 will start November 4th. Please register if you plan to continue.


October 21, 2014
We completed and reviewed the woodpeckers on page 314.

Red-bellied Woodpecker in Florida with comments.
Golden-fronted Woodpecker in Texas with annotations.
Gila Woodpecker in Arizona with annotations.
Male Williamson's Sapsuckers in Pescadero and San Francisco, and a female Williamson's Sapsucker in San Jose.


October 14, 2014
We completed and reviewed the woodpeckers on page 312.

Click here for details and photos of the first Red-headed Woodpecker in California.
Click here for a description of cooperative breeding by Acorn Woodpeckers. Click here for photos and discussion of a family of Acorn Woodpeckers in California. Click here for my photo of an Acorn Woodpecker in Arizona and here for another photo of Acorn Woodpecker from California with a discussion of geographic variation.
Click here for my photo of a Lewis's Woodpecker at Brentwood. Click here and here (PenBirds membership may be required) for my photos of Lewis's Woodpecker at Alpine Lake, San Mateo Co.

Click here for an article on skull morphology explaining how woodpeckers avoid headaches.


October 7, 2014
No class!

September 30, 2014
We completed and reviewed the kingfishers on page 310.

Belted Kingfisher photos here, here and here
Ringed Kingfisher in belize.
Green Kingfisher in Belize and Texas. Panama here, here and here.
Amazon Kingfisher in Panama.


September 23, 2014
We completed and reviewed the hummingbirds on page 308.

My Calliope Hummingbird photos from Arizona here and here.
My Broad-tailed Hummingbird photo from Arizona. Click here for photos of a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird from Oklahoma.
A photo and discussion of a male Selasphorus thought to be Rufous is here.
Click here, here, and here for my photos of Allen's Hummingbirds. Additional photos of Allen's Hummingbirds are here & here.
Many Rufous Hummingbirds have green backs and are indistinguishable from Allen's Hummingbirds. Allen's is restricted to coastal California and is generally absent from Northern California after the end of August. Identification of either species outside normal season or range is not advised unless the bird is in hand.


September 16, 2014
We completed the hummingbirds on page 306.

Click here for my detailed account and photos of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Nevada City, California. Click here for my photos and analysis of a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Bolinas. Click here, here, here, here, here and here for photos of more Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in California.
Black-chinned Hummingbird in Arizona here, here and here.
Photos originally thought to show a Blue-throated Hummingbird are here. The bird is actaully a Black-chinned Hummingbird. A detailed discussion of size illusian in birds is available here.
Click here for a controversial photo of an Anna's Hummingbird thought by some to be a Costa's.
My photos of Anna's Hummingbird are here, here, here and here.
Click here for a photo and discussion of a mystery hummingbird (probably Black-chinned). A photo and discussion of a mystery Calypte sp. (possibly Costa's) at Pinnacles is here.

Female Archilochus hummingbirds do not show the white supraloral stripe evident in female Calypte hummingbirds. Female Ruby-throats have a shorter bill, greener crown and narrower outer primaries compared to female Black-chinned. Female Costa's are grayer above, whiter below and longer-billed than female Anna's. Calypte is the only hummingbird genus in which the birds habitually sing from a perch.


September 9, 2014
We completed and reviewed the hummingbirds on pages 300-304.

Click here and here for my photos of Green Violetear (note change in spelling) in Costa Rica. Terrible photo of a Green Violetear in California is here.
My photos of Green-breasted Mango from Costa Rica are here and here.
Click here for my account and photos of a male Broad-billed Hummingbird in Sonoma, here for my notes on a Broad-billed Hummingbird in Goleta, and here for a photo of a Broad-billed Hummingbird at Weldon, California. Additional California Broad-billed Hummingbirds are here, here and here. Arizona photo and notes here.
Click here for a photo of Violet-crowned Hummingbird in Humboldt County. My photo and notes of a Violet-crowned Hummingbird in Arizona are here.
Bird thought to be female Blue-throated Hummingbird here. What do you think it is?
Click here for details and photo of California's first Magnificent Hummingbird and here for photos of a Magnificent Hummingbird in Eureka, California. My photos of male and female Magnificent Hummingbird in Costa Rica are here and here. Arizona photo here.
Click here or here for my photo of a Plain-capped Starthroat at Ash Canyon, Arizona 20 July 2003.