Black-bellied Plover or American Golden Plover?



I’m bad with shorebirds and need some help with this one. These pictures were taken at Sandy Hook, NJ. I’ve narrowed it down to Black-bellied Plover and American Golden Plover, but it was September so the nonbreeding plumage makes this even more confusing to me. Any ideas?


6 responses to “Black-bellied Plover or American Golden Plover?

  1. I am not sure, either, but I am wondering if it a Black-bellied Plover. It looks as though it might have a heavier bill. Other than that, I don’t know. Let’s see if anyone else chimes in here.

  2. I’m leaning toward American, given the vivid white upper eye-stripe.

  3. I say Black-bellied Plover.
    1) Stout bill (AGP smaller)
    2) Solitary (presumed from photo)
    3) Beach (AGP prefers dry mudflats & pastures)
    4) White undertail coverts (AGP = black).
    But, I am NOT a shorebird expert!!
    If you have in-flight shots, check for dark “armpit”.

  4. Go to eBird and check out (both) plovers for the New Jersey area. Read the individual comments from the checklist submitters and this may well give you the extra data needed to make a final decision.

    Um? How do I add a picture to this part?

    Go to the main (home) page (or look under “Recent Posts” in the right column of the first page. -SLB) and look there for “Sandy Hook Plover Pic”

  5. Just the other day, I read an article in a newspaper here in Newfoundland, Canada about the Black-bellied Plover and how to ID them from other Plovers. The writer noted that Black-bellied only have black bellies during the breeding season, not in the fall…they are checkered-looking grey above, streaky-grey below, with bills that are black and thick and large for a Plover, since most other Plovers have short bills. The Black-bellied is also the biggest Plover. The Golden Plover, on the other hand, has a black belly and a short bill….so, my guess is that this is a Golden Plover.

  6. I got in touch with a friend of mine who is much better than me at identifying shorebirds and who saw the photos. He agrees that it is a BBP due to a couple things. He says that the white stripe above the eye can very greatly and it is a poor method to distinguish between the species. It was early in the nonbreeding so the black on the belly was residual. The large bill size was the best way in his opinion to judge that it was a BBP, but that is only one guys thoughts.