What Bird Might This Be?
December 21, 2011 7:57 PM   Subscribe

Can you identify this bird?

Several days ago I was walking around the perimeter of Seward Park here in Seattle. I came upon a bird which I could not identify. I stalked the bird to get a better photograph, but it was skittish and walked away quickly. I judged it to be close in size to a small chicken.

Here is a photograph of the bird.
posted by Tube to Pets & Animals (20 answers total)
This looks sort of similar - http://leahy.to/birds_seattle/common%20peafowl.html
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:07 PM on December 21, 2011

Also looks kind of like a Pheasant too, but I'm definitely not an expert at all!
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:09 PM on December 21, 2011

Black grouse is the best match I could find but they are nowhere near you.
posted by jessamyn at 8:10 PM on December 21, 2011

It's not a peafowl. Those are huge. You're probably familiar with the common term for the males of the species: peacocks.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:31 PM on December 21, 2011

It looks like a black pigeon or dove
posted by fshgrl at 8:37 PM on December 21, 2011

It definitely looked like a pigeon to me, too. Maybe someone's escaped exotic pet?
posted by missmobtown at 8:42 PM on December 21, 2011

A melanistic pheasant?
posted by oneirodynia at 9:24 PM on December 21, 2011

oops, should have previewed.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:25 PM on December 21, 2011

The shape reminds me of quails I used to see as kid in the Pacific Northwest. They were never black though.
posted by HMSSM at 9:41 PM on December 21, 2011

Cassin's Auklet?
posted by free hugs at 10:11 PM on December 21, 2011

Definitely not an auklet. It's not native, whatever it is.
posted by fshgrl at 10:20 PM on December 21, 2011

Looks a bit like a baby one of these, in which case you might want to call your local ornithologists' society stat.
posted by Shane at 10:46 PM on December 21, 2011

It looks FAR more columbidae (pigeon or dove) than anything like a pheasant. Certainly not an auklet. I would submit it to the flickr bird i.d. group.
posted by primalux at 11:40 PM on December 21, 2011

The Flickr bird i.d. group sound like a useful resource, I posted it there. Thanks!
posted by Tube at 11:51 PM on December 21, 2011

I think it's a Melanistic mutant ring-necked pheasant. It's an escaped game bird.
posted by birdwatcher at 5:52 AM on December 22, 2011

I think it looks more like a black pigeon (rock pigeon). Scroll down to the bottom of the page where it shows photos under the Field Marks heading: the photo on the left is close to coloring, the next photo really duplicates the shape of the bird. Due to the irridescent feathers around the neck, I really think it is this type of bird.
posted by Eicats at 7:38 AM on December 22, 2011

You would have been able to tell a pheasant from a pigeon in person pretty easily if you were looking for it. Maybe watch some videos of them walking on youtube and see if one pops out at you. They have pretty different gaits and tail ends.
posted by fshgrl at 9:57 AM on December 22, 2011

The shape of the head and body, the carriage of the head, and the description of the bird as "walking" really says pigeon to me. (Very few bird species will walk away when alarmed, instead of taking flight. Pigeons being one of them.)

I wouldn't rule out other possibilities. But since black pigeons are a thing that exists it would take a lot for me to believe it was something else.
posted by ErikaB at 2:38 PM on December 22, 2011

It looks like someone may have released some melanistic pheasants near Seward Park. It's not out of the ordinary for people to turn them loose - they do survive on their own where any other pheasant can.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:43 PM on December 22, 2011

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