Another Quiz

Anyone want to try and identify these three crania? That is a centimeter scale for reference.

From left to right:
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Very good everyone and thank you! “In vino veritas,” eh, Pluvialis?

7 thoughts on “Another Quiz”

  1. Jeez this one is hard. I am not that good with either metrics or bird skulls. Give me a mammal any day. A guess: A turkey vulture skull (length and hook) for the first one. I am guessing the second one is a small owl of some kind (big brain and big eye sockets that might be more forward-looking than normal?). As for the third, it too has a big brain but a longer than expected beak with a hook. A sparrow hawk maybe? I’m pretty sure none of them are a chicken …

  2. I second the identification of the first as a turkey vulture; the nostril is midway along the bill and not on the cere, a dead giveaway as a North American vulture of some sort.

    The second I’m not so sure on. Owls have a bony ring around the eye (I don’t think it’s a sclerotic ring, but it kinda looks like one). That said, I can’t think of anything else it would be.

    The third one I’m entirely unsure of. I’m leaning towards pigeon, but the bill is shaped wrong, and I don’t think that’s where the nostrils are on a pigeon.

    -R. Arthur Wilderson

  3. Oh blimey, the picture is pretty small, and I’ve drunk a lot of wine. Eagle (golden?), some kind of smaller hawk (coopers?) and ? barn owl? First, rather drunken impressions hmmm.

  4. Mea culpa, the first isn’t a turkey vulture. You can see daylight through turkey vulture nostrils, these are clearly seperated.

    -R. Arthur Wilderson

  5. The first one is a poser. Looking at some buteoine hawk and aquiline eagle skulls online, the first skull lacks the winglike sweptback bones (preorbitals maybe?), so it’s not that. It’s also too gracile to come from most eagles or hawks I know of.

    I thought maybe it was an actual _turkey’s_ skull, but turkey skulls are appearantly way more gracile than this.

    It’s a long shot, but is the first skull a palm nut vulture?

    Also, could the second be a nighthawk?

    -R. Arthur Wilderson


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