Mix ‘n Match Bird Quiz

The Ship’s Naturalist has been very busy these past few weeks. She has at least two articles in the pipeline, but transferring her observations from the Nature Diary to the computer is a long, slow process. In the meantime, we thought you might enjoy a little nature quiz.

For this quiz we’ve taken 5 of our favourite bird photographs and cut each one into tiny pieces. There are 4 pieces from each bird in the selection below. 5 X 4… that makes 20 photos in total. Yes, if you have a slow connection they may take quite a bit of time to waft across the ether and appear on the screen. Perhaps you’d like to go and make a cuppa while you wait.

Now then, are we all sitting comfortably, with cups of tea and all the photos at the ready? The object of this little exercise is to sift through the photos and decide which beak and which feather belongs to which eye and which foot. If you can also tell us the name of the bird you’ll score extra points, and if you get all the birds sorted out and correctly named you earn the title of Supreme Clever Clogs. But only if yours is the first correct entry!

There are millions of birds in the world, and yet many of them have such distinctive features that they can be identified from just one tiny detail. Take the flamingo, for instance; or take the spoonbill, or the hoopoe with his magnificent crest and his amazing bill. Take the nob on the top of a mute swan’s beak, or the upturned bill of the avocet; take the eye of a stone-curlew; take the blue of a kingfisher… No, you won’t find any of these wonders amongst the birds depicted here – but each one does have a salient feature which is unique to his species.

If you want to take a closer look at a particular photo, just click on the image… and wait patiently. To close the enlarged image and return to this page, click on the image once again.

Beak Beak A Beak B Beak C Beak D Beak E
Eye Eye A Eye B Eye C Eye D Eye E
Plumage Plumage A Plumage B Plumage C Plumage D Plumage E
Foot Foot A Foot B Foot C Foot D Foot E

To send us your answers and ideas, scroll down the page until you reach the comments box. Please type in your name, as you wish it to appear on your comment, and your e-mail address. (The e-mail address will not be visible to anyone but the Communications Officer; it won’t appear with your comments.) After you have completed these formalities you can type in your answer: –

Golden Bush Robin. Beak A, Eye C, Plumage C, Foot A.
Lilac Breasted Cuckoo. Beak C, Eye A, Plumage B, Foot D.

And so on… Feel free to make any other comments, at the same time

Clearly, people living on this side of the pond will have an advantage over those of you over there in the Americas, but if you don’t know the names of any of the birds you can still have a go at matching the photos.

Have fun! We look forward to receiving your answers.


  1. The Beak C looks as if its from a toucan but I can’t find its other bits.
    The plumage in column A is a kestrel. If it’s a baby kestrel ten beak E might be its beak.

    Are you sure you got all the right bits of birds?
    I think you might be cheating. And I think the eye in column D is from somebody’s pet hamster!

  2. Tricky stuff this but good for my soul

    Yellow footed gull A,B,E,B
    Stint BECD
    Mollymawk CABC
    Duck DEAC
    Tree bird EDCA

    I have a bit of a bird to send to you you up for it?

  3. Jill  (article author) 

    Hi there, Susie! Hullo Greg.

    It’s good to hear from you, Sue – and it’s good to SEE you, on your photography website.
    I’m not sure how you’ve ended up with a German flag next to your name… I guess you must have a German ISP.
    Well, you’re on the right lines with the yellow-footed gull, but there are no stints, ducks, or mollymawks here. (Except the one in the header, of course!)
    I’m not sure if we can use your photo, Sue, as it isn’t possible to post photos in the comments box. I guess you could post a link to it – but first somebody has to solve this ongoing pictorial riddle!

    Greg, we agree with you; we also think that the beak in column C looks as exotic as a toucan’s bill – but it isn’t!
    You are not the first person to think that the plumage in column A comes from a kestrel. But it doesn’t.
    No, there are no pieces of hamster here! We wouldn’t be so sneaky!
    We promise you that all the bits are from the same five birds; one beak, one eye, one set of feathers, and one foot from each.

    Keep trying, folks!

  4. Yellow (potato-footed) Legged Gull Beak:1 Eye:1 Plumage:5 Foot:2
    White Wagtail Beak:2 Eye:4 Plumage:3 Foot:1
    Audouin’s Gull Beak:3 Eye:2 Plumage:2 Foot:5
    Black-necked Grebe Beak:4 Eye:5 Plumage:4 Foot:3
    Wren Beak:5 Eye:3 Plumage:1 Foot:4

    What a great quiz!!
    I’m not so good on the watery birds being out here in the mountains but have had a bash anyway,
    Festive greetings all Mollymawkers
    Best Wishes, Sue

  5. I’d go for :-

    Yellow-legged Gull – bill A, eye E, plumage E & foot B
    White Wagtail – bill B, eye D, plumage C & foot A
    Audouin’s Gull – bill C, eye B, plumage B & foot E
    Black-necked Grebe – bill D, eye D, plumage D & foot C
    Wren – bill E, eye c, plumage A & foot D (young bird)


  6. Caesar  (Mollymawk crew) 

    Thanks for all your answers, everyone.
    Sue got the right answers first.
    John – you seem to have got some of the letters mixed up – I’m sure you didn’t really mistake the Black-necked Grebe’s eye for that of a Yellow-legged Gull!
    We have posted the correct answers and a bit about all the birds in a follow-up article.

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