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ENDING YET ANOTHER HIATUS, my What’s This? nature challenge is back. No hints on this one. Name it (to species) and be eligible to win $5 off any of my nature outings or workshops. Enter your answer in the comments section below. I’ll draw a winner at random Thursday morning, and will post all the correct answers (plus creative wrong answers).


January 14: We have a winner, selected from all the correct answers (with help from a random number generator): Kathy correctly identified this as Green Kingfisher, which only shows up in the U.S. in southern Texas and Arizona. I photographed this one, a female (males have a rose-colored breast), on January 8 at a small pond in Edinburg, TX. Kathy wins $5 any of my nature outings or workshops.

Green Kingfisher / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Green Kingfisher / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Green Kingfisher seems to be more bill than bird. Smaller than an American Robin, it goes fishing from low perches overhanging streams and ponds. To be sure, a Long-billed Curlew, compared to its body size, has an impressive bill. A Roseate Spoonbill lugs around a honker. But my sense is that as a percentage of body volume, a Green Kingfisher’s bill may be the biggest bill of them all. I haven’t done the math.

An honorable mention in this contest goes to poet and author Sara Backer, who wrote as her answer:

This is a bird who tell lies. Nothing evil, just the little white lies that are part of his evolutionary survival skills. “I’m telling you, it was a 16″ rainbow. Caught it in one swoop.” “I wanted to treat you guys but I must have left my wallet at home.” “You don’t look at fat in those pants–in fact, you look thinner.” Stuff like that. And with each lie he tells, his beak grows longer, which is why this bird is called the Pinocchio Kingfisher.

Long-billed Curlew / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Long-billed Curlew / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Roseate Spoonbill / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Roseate Spoonbill / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Green Kingfisher / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Green Kingfisher / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Green Kingfisher / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Green Kingfisher / © Bryan Pfeiffer

Find the rest of my What’s This? nature challenges here. And find everyone who entered a correct answer in the comments section below. Thanks for playing What’s This? 

8 comments
  1. Owen Hudson says:

    Looks like a Green Kingfisher!

  2. Judy Brook says:

    I think that is a green kingfisher. Linda Gross and I saw one on our birding trip to south Texas.

  3. Ruth Stewart says:

    Green Kingfisher. Hope s/he stays south!

  4. Kathy says:

    Green Kingfisher

  5. Kristen Lindquist says:

    Damn, is that the Green Kingfisher I’ve so longed to see someday…?

  6. J. Paul Sokal says:

    Modifying my earlier comment… Green Kingfisher?

  7. J. Paul Sokal says:

    Do we have a species of kingfisher?

  8. Justin Jones says:

    Green Kingfisher

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