Need Shorebird and Duck ID’s, Cockroach Bay, FL, Feb. 2012

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These two birds were photographed on Feb. 15, 2012 at the Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve in Ruskin FL.  I have no clue as to what the first bird is, while I think the second and third pictures (the same bird) are of a Lesser Yellowlegs…am I correct?


Since I can’t post a photo in comments, I hope you don’t mind that I am doing it here. My photo, shown below, is definitely a Black-bellied Plover which was rescued by the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary and unable to be released.  The photo was taken in late March, but has mostly winter plumage.  Your photo shows a dark eyeline on the bird, whereas the Black-bellied Plover here has a distinct white eyebrow.  It is hard to tell if your bird has a marked breast or distinct feathers like this Black-bellied Plover.  I checked winter plumage and juvenile images in guides and on the ‘net and they all have the white eyebrow.  I’ll check further later.  -SLB


7 responses to “Need Shorebird and Duck ID’s, Cockroach Bay, FL, Feb. 2012

  1. The first is most likely a non-breeding Black-bellied Plover and I agree with your ID regarding the Lesser Yellowlegs, because the beak has two tones and seems straight.

  2. JoSanz1217

    Thanks, Pierre. Unless they’re in breeding plumage, shorebirds are difficult for me.

  3. What about the duck? Could it be a male Gadwall?

  4. JoSanz1217

    I believe the duck is a female Greater Scaup. I thought it was a Redhead, as there were at least 3500 of them in the pond…what a sight that was! There were lots of Greater and Lesser Scaup with them, as well.

  5. I second-guessed myself. My first thought was that I had seen the duck many times and knew what it is, but the bill was so dark that I wondered if it is something else. Now I realize that I have seen this duck many times. It is a Lesser Scaup. They look very similar to Greater Scaups, but Greater Scaups are not found in Florida.

  6. The dark bill does seem unusual for either Scaup. While the Lesser is more likely to be seen in FL, the Greater can also be there. In fact, when you report the birds to eBird, there is a listing for Lesser Scaup and pne for Greater/Lesser Scaup. Distinguishing between the two is very difficult, and that includes using the head coloring. So, perhaps we should say that this is a Greater/Lesser Scaup, although I lean towards what my nephew Robert often says about these birds, “Does it matter?”

  7. SLB, thank you for being so diligent about getting the proper ID. I could not see an image of the Black-bellied Plover in your reply….only text was visible. Since I have the original image, I checked it again and the bird does show a white “eyebrow” and a smudge near its eye. I will post the picture here again, on its own, so you can enlarge it to have a better look.