Readers’ wildlife photos

August 21, 2022 • 8:00 am

Send in your photos if you have good ones, please. Without your help, this feature won’t last the week.

It’s Sunday, and that means we have a themed collection of bird photos by John Avise. John’s intro and captions are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Little, Least, or Lesser Birds and Their Counterparts

Several avian species in North America have the words Little, Least or Lesser in their official common names.  Logically enough, this is to distinguish them from counterpart species that are typically bigger. This week’s post shows various of these smaller birds and some of their larger relatives.  All of these photos were taken in Southern California.

Lesser Yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes:

Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca:

Least Bittern, Ixobrychus exilis:

American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus:

Lesser Scaup, Aythya affinis:

Greater Scaup, Aythya marila:

Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea:

Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias:

Least Sandpiper, Calidris minutilla:

Western Sandpiper, Calidris mauri:

Least Tern, Sterna antillarum:

Royal Tern, Sterna maxima:

Lesser Goldfinch, Carduelis psaltria:

American Goldfinch, Carduelis tristis:

5 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Nice photos, as we are used to from John.
    I wonder how may of these ‘lesser’ species are actual species. (I’m not questioning, just wondering). Do they not interbreed at all?

  2. Most if not all of the species-pairs shown are undoubtedly “good” biological species, because they differ in many features in addition to size alone, thus indicating that they are mostly reproductively separated in nature. These additional features include things like voices, plumage details, ranges, and behaviors.

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