Bird Identification 101

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Table of Contents
Introduction
Topography of a Bird

Constant Features

Plumage Variations

ID by Shape
ID by Color
ID by Location
ID by Specific Features

The Bill

Cone-shaped

Dagger-shaped

Curved

Hooked

Needle-like

Spatulate

Quiz on Bill Shapes

The Head

Eyering

Crown

Lores

Supercillium

Ear Patch (auricular)

Quiz on the Head

ID by Field Mark
ID by Behavior
ID by Gestalt
ID by Nests
ID by Ear
 

Recommended ID Books

Plumage Variations

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Despite their many variations, feathers are still the easiest way to identify birds because they create a distinct, colorful appearance that is unique to each species. Although feathers cover the entire body of a bird they are actually clumped in distinct patches that are separated by bare skin. Each of these feather groups is named (i.e. belly vs. chest) to give us a system for describing every bird.



Next: ID by Specific Features

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