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Quiz about Rare Bird Visitors to Britain
Quiz about Rare Bird Visitors to Britain

Rare Bird Visitors to Britain Trivia Quiz


This is a quiz about the rarest avian visitors to the UK; it includes species which are not native to the country. Some are classed as vagrants - seen a few times and never again, while others may become more regular visitors due to climate change.
This is a renovated/adopted version of an old quiz by author sed32

A photo quiz by rossian. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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Author
rossian
Time
3 mins
Type
Photo Quiz
Quiz #
66,415
Updated
Dec 09 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
469
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Johnmcmanners (10/10), Guest 193 (10/10), bernie73 (6/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. Which of these birds, with distinctive eye markings, is normally found only in the southern hemisphere, but has occasionally been spotted in Britain? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Which attractive American species was officially recorded as visiting the UK in Autumn 2001 with a long staying individual being seen in Western Scotland? Hint


photo quiz
Question 3 of 10
3. A rare vagrant in the UK, this bird could be described as an American cousin to a common British bird which is also in the family Falco. Which of these is it? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. This unusual visitor is a relative of the much more common yellow and pied varieties found in the UK. What is it? Hint


photo quiz
Question 5 of 10
5. The European serin is sometimes seen in the southernmost parts of England. This seed eating bird is a member of which family? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Which seabird, which normally prefers warmer weather and is named for its distinctive feathers, has been seen regularly in the UK since the 1980s? Hint


photo quiz
Question 7 of 10
7. The closest most Brits get to this bird is by reading or listening to music. An extremely rare visitor to the UK, what is this bird, known for its powers of mimicry and very common in the USA? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Sharing the distinctive eye stripe, the photo shows the North American, red-breasted, cousin of which British bird? Hint


photo quiz
Question 9 of 10
9. Pastor roseus is native to central Asia and south eastern Europe and migrates to India for the winter. Vagrants turn up in the UK regularly and join the large flocks of which of our native birds, who share the same family? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. These beautiful birds are occasionally seen in southern parts of Britain, although their usual range is southern and central Europe and parts of Africa. Officially Merops apiaster, and therefore not welcomed by all, what is their common name? Hint


photo quiz

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View Image Attributions for This Quiz

Most Recent Scores
Jun 30 2024 : Johnmcmanners: 10/10
Jun 26 2024 : Guest 193: 10/10
Jun 22 2024 : bernie73: 6/10
Jun 03 2024 : Guest 109: 10/10
Jun 03 2024 : bradez: 5/10
May 31 2024 : Guest 146: 9/10
May 28 2024 : Guest 89: 10/10
May 26 2024 : PurpleComet: 10/10
May 25 2024 : rainbowriver: 10/10

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Which of these birds, with distinctive eye markings, is normally found only in the southern hemisphere, but has occasionally been spotted in Britain?

Answer: Black-browed albatross

The black-browed albatross is rarely seen in the northern hemisphere at all, let alone in Britain. Sometimes, though, the birds are blown off course and end up miles from where they should be. One example, given the name 'Albert Ross', was seen regularly each year in a Scottish nature reserve between 1972 and 1987. More recently, another specimen, nicknamed 'Albie', has been visiting Yorkshire's Bempton Cliffs since 2017. He is normally resident in the Baltic Sea area, still many miles from home. Unfortunately, as these birds arrive alone they are destined to remain solitary as they have little to no chance of finding a partner.

The Cape gannet is native to southern Africa and the Southern fulmar to Antarctica. The Caspian plover is, unsurprising, found in Asia around the Caspian Sea.
2. Which attractive American species was officially recorded as visiting the UK in Autumn 2001 with a long staying individual being seen in Western Scotland?

Answer: Snowy egret

According to various websites I've checked in November 2022, there have only been twenty recorded sightings of the snowy egret in the UK with the most recent being the one mentioned in the question. It does have some similarities to the little egret, which is much more common, but the yellow markings on its beak, legs and feet (which you can see in the photo) are distinctive.

The snowy egret is a resident of the Americas, particularly South and Central America and southern parts of the USA. Occasional sightings have been recorded in the Azores and Iceland. None of these birds are kept in captivity in the UK, so these rare specimens are likely to have crossed the Atlantic.
3. A rare vagrant in the UK, this bird could be described as an American cousin to a common British bird which is also in the family Falco. Which of these is it?

Answer: American kestrel

There have been only two twentieth century confirmed sightings of the American kestrel in the UK, both in the same year. One was in Fair Isle, one of the Shetland Islands in the far north of Scotland, while the other was in Cornwall. It was never established whether or not it was the same bird - the two regions are a very long way apart, but maybe not if you've crossed the Atlantic first.

Both the British kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, and the American kestrel, Falco sparverius, are among the smallest birds of prey in their respective regions. The American kestrel is one of the most common birds of prey in the American continent, ranging from Alaska and Canada all the way down to the southernmost parts of South America.

The buzzard and hawk in the answer options both belong to the Buteo family while the harrier is Circus hudsonius.
4. This unusual visitor is a relative of the much more common yellow and pied varieties found in the UK. What is it?

Answer: Blue-headed wagtail

If you enlarge the photo, you'll get a better view. If only we had moving pictures the question would have no challenge to it at all as the distinctive bobbing action of these birds is what gives them their common name. The pied wagtail is especially prevalent in the UK and seems to have a particular love of car parks, while the yellow wagtail is harder to spot, but still a regular garden visitor.

The blue-headed wagtail is found all over mainland Europe including Scandinavia and the Iberian region, moving south to Africa during the winter months. Specimens have been seen regularly in the UK since the 1980s but are not resident. There is some evidence that there is interbreeding between the incomers and the yellow wagtails creating a hybrid dubbed the Channel wagtail.
5. The European serin is sometimes seen in the southernmost parts of England. This seed eating bird is a member of which family?

Answer: Finch

The serin is a small finch found across southern and central parts of Europe and into northern Africa. It is a year round resident in countries like Spain, France, Italy and Greece. The short, stout beak helps to identify it as a member of the finches.

Serins have been seen in UK annually from the 1960s, primarily in southern counties such as Devon, Dorset and Sussex. The sightings are restricted to no more than two pairs of birds, often only one pair, who breed before returning to the mainland. The islands of Jersey also see serins, but they are not resident there either.
6. Which seabird, which normally prefers warmer weather and is named for its distinctive feathers, has been seen regularly in the UK since the 1980s?

Answer: Lesser crested tern

Lesser crested terns are found in coastal regions of Africa and Australia. The ones which turn up in the UK are likely to have travelled from the Mediterranean, where they breed on islands off the coast of Libya. One of the earliest visitors was given the name Elsie and she returned annually over a period of fourteen years. She even managed to breed successfully with a native sand tern and raise chicks who themselves raised young. Most years since 1982 have reported sightings of different birds of this species in all parts of the UK.

The photo shows a mixture of lesser crested and greater crested terns in a photo taken in north Africa. The birds have a distinctive crest of black feathers on their heads.
7. The closest most Brits get to this bird is by reading or listening to music. An extremely rare visitor to the UK, what is this bird, known for its powers of mimicry and very common in the USA?

Answer: Northern mockingbird

Between 1971 and 2021 the northern mockingbird has been seen only five times in the UK, and the earlier two are considered dubious. The accepted sightings were in 1982 in Saltash, Cornwall and in 1988, when one was seen in Essex. There was a long gap before another was spotted in 2021, this time in Devon and with plenty of photographic evidence.

Mockingbirds are, by contrast, plentiful in the USA and known for their intelligence and ability to copy many sounds, including the songs of other bird species. Mockingbirds are a popular topic for songs, including one entitled 'Mockingbird' recorded by Carly Simon, and the book I was thinking of in the question was, of course, Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.
8. Sharing the distinctive eye stripe, the photo shows the North American, red-breasted, cousin of which British bird?

Answer: Nuthatch

To date, there is only one verified sighting of the red-breasted nuthatch in Britain, although the bird did stay around for quite some time. It decided Norfolk was to its liking and spent the whole winter there between October 1988 until May 1990. It was identified as a young male and assumed to have been blown off course.

These birds are native to the northern parts of the USA and into Canada, migrating south for breeding. Their habitat is conifer forests. The British and American birds are similar in appearance, but the American version has a black crown while the British is grey, the same as the wings.
9. Pastor roseus is native to central Asia and south eastern Europe and migrates to India for the winter. Vagrants turn up in the UK regularly and join the large flocks of which of our native birds, who share the same family?

Answer: Starlings

The picture shows the rosy starling, obviously named for its colourful breast. They resemble the very common British starling in size and shape but the resident birds are black, speckled with white spots. Their feathers are iridescent, though, and shimmer with green and blue when studied more closely. Of the options listed, only starlings form flocks - the other birds are more solitary although they are seen in small groups.

Sightings of rosy starlings in the UK are becoming more frequent as the twenty-first century progresses. The birds are normally resident in central and eastern Europe, spending winters in India. The theory is that climate change is increasing the numbers of insects to the west and the birds are following them. There have been numerous reports of rosy starlings visiting gardens throughout the UK, from Aberdeen in the north part of Scotland, into Wales and various parts of England.
10. These beautiful birds are occasionally seen in southern parts of Britain, although their usual range is southern and central Europe and parts of Africa. Officially Merops apiaster, and therefore not welcomed by all, what is their common name?

Answer: European bee-eater

The European bee-eater breeds primarily in Europe's Iberian peninsula and over into central Europe as well as on the northern coast of Africa. They migrate to Africa for the winter although South Africa has year round residents.

European bee-eaters were seen in Britain on occasions as far back as 1920, with irregular sightings through the twentieth century. Since the new millennium, visits have been more regular with a flock of seven birds making their home in Norfolk in 2022. They successfully bred there too.

Bee-eaters do eat bees, along with wasps, hornets and other insects but the small numbers who visit the UK are unlikely to cause havoc for apiarists. The RSPB website describes them as 'rainbow clad rockstars' which I thought rather apt.
Source: Author rossian

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor WesleyCrusher before going online.
Any errors found in FunTrivia content are routinely corrected through our feedback system.
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