My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

Do you know your Bird Eggs? [QUIZ 1]

Bird Eggs come in an array of shapes and sizes. They can be found elliptical, spherical or even oval in shape. Smaller eggs (like the Hummingbird) are the size of a pea and the larger eggs (like the Ostrich) can almost be the size of a football. Eggs are sometimes colored in ways of making them appear to be camouflage so that potential enemies are unable to locate them. An example would be the Killdeer who will lay her eggs on the rocky ground but assist in distracting the predator away with an injured wing display. Some species of birds have colors that will vary from egg to egg where others will always have the same reliable pattern. Many of our cavity nesting birds will have white or neutral colored eggs since they do not need their eggs camouflaged. Ducks eggs are larger in size in proportion of their adult sized body. Ducklings need to be ready to swim away as soon as they are born where most other nestlings are born feather-less and helpless. They do most of their developing within the first few weeks in the nest.

Hooded Warbler nest
Hooded Warbler on her nest.

There are many different things to take in consideration when identifying the eggs of birds. Size, shape and coloring are the main ingredients in making the eggs identification but they are not always the most important details. Behavior and the birds natural history is sometimes very helpful way to identify a broken (or hatched open) egg that you might find on the ground. The birdQUIZ below is designed in helping you use everything I talked about in making the proper identification of these eggs!! Good Luck!







Each egg (above photos) comes from one of the six birds that are listed below. This fun birdQUIZ was for you to see how well you know your bird egg!! I strongly suggest using any reference bird egg or nest guide that is available to you. Answers to this quiz can be found on the bottom of the page. I will be doing a part 2 of the quiz with 6 more birds in tomorrows post. Remember . . . this isn’t an actual test it is just something to do for fun!

howa.jpg mall.jpg

Hooded Warbler usually have 3-4 eggs. Incubation is done by the female for 12 days. Nestlings fledge the nest after 8-9 days of hatching. The nest can be found in thick shrubby moist deciduous woodland about 2 feet off the ground.

Mallard normally have 10-12 eggs. Incubation is done by the female for 26-29 days after the last egg has been laid. Nestlings fledge the nest just after hatching and spend 7-8 weeks with the female before going on their own. The nest can be found near any fresh water habitat in tall vegetation on the ground.

eust.jpg ssha.jpg

European Starling usually have 5-7 eggs. Incubation starts after last egg has been laid by both parents for 12-15 days. Nestlings fledge the nest after 20-22 days of hatching. The nest can be found in areas with nest-site holes occur with open areas for feeding. They have been introduced from Europe.

Sharp-shinned Hawk usually have 4-5 eggs. Incubation starts after the last egg has been laid by both parents for 30-35 days. Nestlings fledge the nest after 23 days of hatching. The nest can be found in thick cover and conifers when available about 10-60 feet off the ground.

rbwo.jpg gbhe.jpg

Red-bellied Woodpecker usually have 4-5 eggs. Incubation starts after the first egg has been laid by both parents for 13 days. Nestlings fledge the nest after 26 days of hatching. The nest can be found in a nest-hole, 5-40 feet up in a variety of woodland habitats.

Great Blue Heron usually have 4 eggs. Incubation is done by both parents for 25-29 days. Nestlings fledge the nest after 64-90 days of hatching. The nest can be found in tall trees or sometimes bushes on ledges or cliffs up to 130 feet from the ground.


NOTE: The egg photos come from the Allegany State Park’s Red House Museum’s egg collection, which have the required educational permits for using these eggs for educational purposes. * It is illegal to possess bird eggs, bird nest, bird feather or any protected migratory dead bird without proper federal and state special purpose salvage permits.*

The egg collection was donated to the park from a private collection that originated from a collector in the late 1890’s to early 1900’s. Each and every egg is very fragile, so consider the eggs age when comparing its coloring to the books photos. All reference material for this post comes from “A Guide to the Nest, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds (second edition).” (1997) by Paul J. Baichich and Colin J.O. Harrison, Academic Press. Bird Photos are from the Roger Tory Peterson fieldguide.

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19 responses

  1. pwrbrdr

    A – Hooded Warbler
    B – Sharp-shinned Hawk
    C – Red-bellied Woodpecker
    D – Great Blue Heron
    E – Mallard
    F – European Starling

    Guessing with no book, so don’t hold it against me. It is harder with no size references.

    19 December 2007 at 7:27 pm

  2. I’ll wait for the answers on this one. I used to have, in another lifetime, domestic mallard ducks (as well as many other varieties) but mine had blue eggs. Maybe they weren’t true mallards. They were from mail order eggs that I incubated. That’s the extent of my egg knowledge except chickens.

    19 December 2007 at 8:59 pm

  3. I reversed the woodpecker and starling, but guessed the others right.

    19 December 2007 at 9:03 pm

  4. @ John – You don’t have any egg/nest reference books? Those trays are all the same size and you should be able to judge size by them!
    @ Erie – Answers are already posted on the page! You just have to click the link!
    @ John, you are right, woodpeckers eggs are more white where the starlings for some reason are just a little bigger!

    Tomorrows quiz is just a little harder than this one!

    19 December 2007 at 9:21 pm

  5. Lisa at Greenbow

    Monarch you know I am no good at takin’ tests. I like all the information your little fingers press on to the keys and out to the world. I would be able to figure this out if the birds were sitting on the nest. I thought one would be an ostrich egg but you didn’t put an ostrich as a choice. Hmmmmm Now let me think…

    19 December 2007 at 9:28 pm

  6. NatureShutterbug

    Excellent quiz. Thanks.

    19 December 2007 at 10:35 pm

  7. @ Lisa – lol and it’s about exploring and learning! Thanks
    @ NatureShutter – thanks!

    19 December 2007 at 10:50 pm

  8. Another informative post, particularly as I know nothing about eggs (besides those of the game birds I used to raise w/my ex.) The duck egg I got, but that was about it.

    20 December 2007 at 12:27 am

  9. Wow. What a neat post. Your blog inspires me to look more closely at what I see. The heron egg is so special — it’s one of my favorite birds. I never thought about how long each one incubates. Thanks for doing this.

    20 December 2007 at 12:34 am

  10. No, sir, I definitely do not know my bird eggs, but I learned a few things and it was fun. Thanks, Tom.

    20 December 2007 at 1:08 am

  11. This is so amazingly great Monarch. (I’d love to look upon a day that you don’t just knock my socks off…) No, I don’t. (and sadly, I should.) However, your quiz is teaching me. I just recently got the bird calls down and tested myself on (got 100%) now this! :o) I am completely excited at the prospect of learning here. And I’ll humbly state that some people on this planet are a lot smarter than I. Thank you for doing this!

    20 December 2007 at 2:36 am

  12. @ Lana – If anything, I just want people to closely study they eggs! Look for differences!
    @ Crayons – thanks and glad you were able to! It is interesting stuff for sure! Thanks
    @ Marvin – Glad you learned, that’s what it is all about! I have another one tonight coming!
    @ aullori – blush, thanks! glad you were able to learn and congrats on the 100! We have part 2 tonight!

    20 December 2007 at 7:41 am

  13. What pretty eggs! I love seeing the variety that there is out there.

    20 December 2007 at 9:04 am

  14. Excellent test. I just like looking at the eggs. I never get to see such a variety. Very beautiful.

    20 December 2007 at 11:17 am

  15. Terrific! I bookmarked this post for future reference when I stumble upon some eggs I can’t identify.

    20 December 2007 at 3:49 pm

  16. Darn, my answers were going to be:
    a) little chicken
    b) fancy chicken
    c) chicken
    d) BIG chicken with hypercalcemia
    e) BIG chicken (normal)
    f) chicken with glandular problem

    So, I was wrong on all counts, huh?

    20 December 2007 at 6:18 pm

  17. just kidding-another good bird quiz. Keep them coming.

    20 December 2007 at 9:46 pm

  18. pwrbrdr

    I have them – I tried it without them!

    21 December 2007 at 5:56 am

  19. @ Misti – birds are such wonderful creatures and I love learning about them!
    @ Robin – I can promise you each and every egg is special!
    @ Mary – thanks and I appreciate your kind words! They have some great books out there!
    @ Marty – You know how some test have two answers! You figured out my “answers that also work”!
    @ John – It is great you are giving them a try!

    21 December 2007 at 11:49 pm

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