A mid-sized plover of the Pacific Coast. Alternate Adult has black underparts, broad white supercilium that wraps behind the auriculars onto the neck and then extends down the flanks to the mostly white undertail. The middle and lower flanks, vent and sides of the undertail are barred with black. Feathers on the crown, nape, back and wings have black centers and wide golden-buff edges giving the upperparts spangled golden look. Legs are grayish-black and the bill is short and somewhat more slender than the bills of other plovers. Basic Adult is grayish-tan to near white below with a suffusion of buff on the breast; feathers on upperparts have dark centers and broad off-white to gray margins, weak face pattern is comprised of an off-white supercilium contrasting with a darker crown and a small dark ear patch. Juvenile is like Basic Adult but more crisply spotted and patterned overall with a smaller patch on the auriculars and more golden tones in the face and on the upperparts. Black-bellied Plover has thicker bill, broad white undertail coverts, and lacks buffy gold coloration in plumage. Shows conspicuous black axillaries. American Golden-Plover is extremely similar, but has slightly longer wings, usually showing four exposed primaries. American is usually grayer in basic plumage, showing less golden tones than Pacific.
Length: 26 (cm) Wingspan: 61 (cm)
Short, rising, two-part whistle.
Breeds on tundra. During migration and winter, found in plowed fields, mudflats, estuaries, and beaches.
Nest is a ground scrape. Sometimes forms small flocks, occasionally joining other shorebirds, especially Black-bellied Plovers.
Forages by sight, picking up a variety of worms, insects, other small prey, and occasional plant material.
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