American Golden-Plover and Black-bellied Plover ID

Juvenile American Golden-Plover on Gull island at Presqu'ile Provincial Park on 23 September 2016. Identification: 1. White supercilium contrasting with dark cap; 2. Upperparts (scapulars, greater coverts and tertials) spangled and having a dull gold appearance; 3. Greyish about head and neck; 4. Brown barring on flanks, breast and belly; 5. Long primaries that extend beyond tertials and tail.


Juvenile American Golden-Plover is very similar to Black-bellied Plover. Here are some ID points compared to Black-bellied Plover: 1. Smaller overall size and more slender attenuated look. 2. Smaller bill and head than Black-bellied Plover; 3. Longer primaries that extend beyond tail, which means it's a long-distance migrant, wintering below the equator in southern South America. 4. Barred on breast, flanks and belly, whereas Black-bellied has streaking on breast and is lightly marked on flanks. 5. In flight, American Golden-Plover has greyish axillaries (wing pits), whereas Black-bellied Plover has black axillaries. NOTE: Birds have wings not arms. 5. Has dark rump and tail and no white wing stripe.


Juvenile American Golden-Plover: Note long primaries with four primary tips beyond tertials compared to two on Black-bellied Plover below. Also American Golden-Plover lacks a hind toe whereas Black-bellied Plover has a hind toe, sometimes hard to see.


Black-bellied Plover on Gull, Island at Presqu'ile Provincial Park on 23 September 2016. Identification: 1. White supercilium; 2. Spangled upperparts giving a whitish appearance at a distance compared to American Golden-Plover, though birds in fresh juvenile plumage can appear yellowish or golden; 3. Neck and breast are finely streaked, and flanks lightly marked; 4. Belly white; 5. Larger than American Golden-Plover with larger head and bill. 6. In flight has a white rump and uppertail, a prominent white wing stripe, and black axillaries (wing pits).


Juvenile Black-bellied Plover on left and juvenile American Golden-Plover on right. Presqu'ile on 23 September 2016.


Photos taken on the OFO Convention outing to Presqu'ile led by Doug McRae and Bill Gilmour