Field of Science

Name the Bug #8

Attribution, as always, to follow.

Update: Identity now available here. Photo by Ron Hoff.


  1. It's a Tuamotu sandpiper Prosobonia cancellata.

  2. Oh yeah, justifications:

    -The somewhat awkwardly splaying toes suggested to me that this was no typical perching bird. That pretty much ruled out most passerines (e.g., warblers, starlings, thrushes, etc.).

    -The longish, straight bill suggested 'wader' to me, and the plain colouration narrowed it down to a scolopacid. (Some shorebirds do occasionally perch on the branches of trees, even though their feet are not particularly well suited for that. The Eurasian green sandpiper Tringa ochropus, for example, may even nest in trees, in abandoned thrush nests).

    -The vegetation suggested to me that the picture was taken somewhere in the tropics. As there aren't that many tropical sandpiper species, I decided to first check if the obscure-ish Prosobonia species (or specifically, the only surviving species, the Tuamotu sandpiper P. cancellata) would match. And whaddayaknow, a Google Image search of 'Prosobonia' did turn up that very same photo. As far as I could tell, the case, as they say, was closed.

  3. Damn, I was hoping that people would get hung up thinking it was some sort of rail. ;)

  4. So, in other words, it's an Aechmorhynchus parvirostris.


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