Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds with Butts in the Air

Welcome to Week #31 of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. Week #31 challenge is Birds with butts in the air….giving us their “moon shot”.

The feature image showcases a pair of butts belonging to a couple of Blue-winged Teals. This pair stayed down more than they stayed up. I guess there was plenty of food under the surface for them.

Dabbling ducks is what came to mind when I set this challenge. They frequent ponds and shallow water for tasty vegetation. Among these ducks are American Black Duck, American Wigeon, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Mallard, Mottled Duck, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler and Wood Duck.

I will keep this info up for a few weeks.

Before we plan our birding trips, we scour the many lists on to see what has been seen and logged in recent days. If you don’t use Ebird and want to get out there and find them, I suggest using this site or download the app to your phone. The data you submit goes directly to CornellLab of Ornithology. Birds are logged by birders and scientist all over the world.

Steps to a Great Day of Birding

  • Log on to site. Free to create an account.
  • Click on the Explore tab at the top and then click on Explore Hotspots.
  • Find our favorite hotspots within a few hours drive and look over the lists.
  • Create an agenda on where we are going. Usually verbally, nothing fancy or written down. We do this a day or two before we want to go.
  • Pack a lunch, snacks and several thermoses of water as there are almost no places to eat where we go. Some are driving trails and some are hiking trails. Many of the them are a little of both.
  • Take a notepad & pen to write down the birds as we see them. Old school, however the new Ebird app has a feature that you can start a list, add your birds as you see them in a specific area and it will record the whole time you are in that area. When you are finished birding in an area, you can then complete the number of each species, complete the data and finish recording until you get to the next spot. It records the time you start and finish so you don’t have to do that manually. I’ve used it once and loved it, but when I’m out there, it is pretty easy for me to write them down. For me, it’s a mental exercise.

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail with its butt turned towards the camera among some Blue-winged Teals at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.

Northern Pintails are long-necked ducks and the breeding males have a very long tail, white breast and white neck. The female has a long tail and is a brown mottled color. They are larger than many ducks at 20-29 inches (51-76 cm). They often migrate with other ducks like the Blue-winged Teal and American Wigeons seen in the photos here. They can be seen on every continent except Australia and Antarctica but are prominent in North America, Asia and Europe.

Northern Pintail among some Blue-winged Teals at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.

Providing you with the head shot of the Northern Pintail male shown above was seen here with a cluster of Blue-winged Teals showing their butts off on the right.

Blue-winged Teal

Blue-winged Teals foraging in a pond at Sweetwater Wetlands Preserve in Gainesville, Florida.

Blue-winged Teals are long distance migrants that mainly inhabit North America migrating down into South America. They can be found in Europe and Africa as well. These dabbling ducks take off earlier than other ducks during spring and fall migration, leaving their breeding grounds in the United States and Canada before other species in the fall.

American Wigeon

American Wigeon with butt in the air among some Redheads in a large pond at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge near Tallahassee, Florida.

The American Wigeon has a gooselike bill and can eat more plant matter than any other dabbling duck. Watch closely when you are out birding because the Eurasian Wigeon can be a rarity that shows up with the American Wigeon during migration to North America. Same goes with the American Wigeon. This bird has been known to take flight with the Eurasian Wigeon and turn up in Europe. So nice that they get along!

American Wigeon in a large pond at St. Marks Wildlife Refuge near Tallahassee, Florida.

Common Gallinule

Common Gallinule feeding along the water line in some mangroves at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.

I gave you a Common Gallinule last week, but this one fit the bill or “butt” this week. Even though the light was bright, it did offer a pretty good reflection. This Gallinule or Moorhen as they were once known, was feeding along the banks of the Mangroves at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge.

Feral Muscovy Duck

Domesticated Muscovy Duck hanging out at the cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida.

True Muscovy Ducks are rare in the United States. Like the Mallard, it has become feral and domesticated residing in parks and on farms. True Wild Muscovy Ducks are restricted to South Texas and further south into Mexico, Central and South America.

Wood Storks

A flock of Wood Storks at a golf course in Tampa, Florida.

Wood Storks are large gangly birds and stands just over 3 feet tall (91.44 cm). Wood Storks range is mainly in the United States, Cuba, Central and South America.

American Avocet

American Avocets, with their butts in the air, scouring for food at Henderson Birding Preserve near Las Vegas, Nevada.

The American Avocet can be found in shallow wetlands like this pair seen at Henderson Birding Preserve near Las Vegas, Nevada. They are usually out in the open with little vegetation to hide them. They have a high-pitched call that gradually rises in pitch, simulating a Doppler effect when threatened by a predator. This technique can make it seem like their approach is faster than it actually is.

American Avocets scouring for food at Henderson Birding Preserve near Las Vegas, Nevada.


Willets feeding along the shoreline at Fort Desoto Park in Pinellas County Florida.

Willets are one of the most common shorebirds across North American, Mexico, Central and South America. When threatened, Willets will pretend to be disabled with a broken wing to draw attention to themselves to draw a predator away from their nest. They have an unmistakable call, pill-will-willet which gives them their name.

Upcoming challenges can be found on my Bird Weekly Challenge Page.

Next time…Week #32 – Birds with Brown Feathers.

52 Comments on “Bird Weekly – Photo Challenge – Birds with Butts in the Air

  1. LOL! I’m so glad I didn’t have a sip of tea in my mouth when I read your title this week!! Oh, how I laughed! Great selection and variety of dabbling ducks, Lisa. Thanks for the chuckle and good images.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s awesome! Glad you didn’t too and smiling over the look that could have crossed your face! LOL! It was a fun one. I’ve been taking photos of duck butts for years but never thought to do a theme for it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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    • Thanks so much Rita. I got the idea from Lisa a few months ago and knowing that I’d been taking those types of shots for years, it totally made sense. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. You have totally out done me this week. If it wasn’t for Becky I probably would have even done a post. It’s on it’s way.
    So many great birds in your collection Lisa 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Brian and YAY for Becky! 🙂 I felt like a fell short because it was a bit shorter than most of the posts. I love taking those photos though. LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

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    • The pingback worked this week but it never hurts. I’m glad I found it for last week. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if I miss something ever. 🙂


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  17. Could have sworn I left a comment yesterday?
    Oh, well. The shot of the Avocet is a beauty. Was always my fav wading bird. So delicate looking

    Liked by 1 person

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