Bird Quiz: Pyrrhuloxia

Bird Quiz: Pyrrhuloxia

Michele Berger
Published: 06/08/2011

Photo: Dmitry Mozzherin, Flickr Creative Commons

Yesterday, we asked you to show off your bird ID skills. Today, show us what you know about pyrrhuloxia. Scroll past the picture below for the answers.

1. True or False: Cardinals and pyrrhuloxia are closely related and their ranges overlap?

2. Where does the name ‘pyrrhuloxia’ come from?
a. From scientists trying to distinguish it as much as possible from cardinals
b. From Greek for the words “flame-colored” and “crooked”
c. A collaboration from a group of birders who first spotted the species
d. None of the above

3. True or False: During winter foraging, pyrrhuloxia become loners, separating from other individuals of the species.


4. What does the pyrrhuloxia song sound like?

a. a series of whistle-like what-cheer, what-cheer notes
b. clicking pit-i-tuck
c. metallic notes that sound like quink
d. both A and C

5. What do pyrrhuloxia eat?
a. bugs and bugs alone
b. bugs and seeds
c. bugs, seeds, and fruit
d. meat


Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Answers

1. True or False: Cardinals and pyrrhuloxia are closely related and their ranges overlap?
True. They are both members of the Cardinalidae family. Also, both species live in open desert scrub in the southwestern U.S., though cardinals also live in wetter habitat, too.

2. Where does the name ‘pyrrhuloxia’ come from?
B.
From Greek for the words “flame-colored” and “crooked.” According to the Birds of North America online, the name is a combo of two bird genera, Pyrrhula (bullfinches) and Loxia (crossbills). These names come from the Greek words pyrruos, which means “flame-colored or red,” and loxuos, which means “crooked.”

3. True or False: During winter foraging, pyrrhuloxia become loners, separating from other individuals of the species.
False.
In fact, they stick together, in groups as large as 1,000 individuals, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds.

4. What does the pyrrhuloxia song sound like?
D, both A and C. The song is either a series of what-cheer, what-cheer or several quink notes. Click here to listen to a pyrrhuloxia singing.

5. What do pyrrhuloxia eat?
C, bugs, seeds, and fruit.
These birds are opportunistic eaters that forage on the ground and in vegetation. When they have chicks in the nest, both parents snatch insects to bring back, according to the Birds of  North America online.

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