American Golden-Plover Pluvialis dominica

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Slender, long-winged plover usually found in relatively dry habitats. Breeding plumage shows black belly and face, white neck sides, and dark back and crown spangled with gold. Note sides and undertail coverts entirely black, but beware females and molting birds can be mottled with some white. Nonbreeding plumage is much drabber; grayish overall with distinct white eyebrow and dark cap. Juveniles are crisp and neatly spangled above, washed with gold on the upperparts. At all seasons, note slender shape and narrow bill to separate from Black-bellied Plover, along with grayish underwing in flight. Extremely similar to Pacific Golden-Plover; American is slightly longer-winged, shorter-legged, and smaller-billed, but these features are difficult to judge. Juvenile American is usually duller than Pacific, especially on the face and neck. Average habitat preferences are important (Pacific Golden and Black-bellied more regular on beaches and mudflats), but much overlap. Range is also important. Breeds on Arctic tundra. Fairly common migrant through central North America, uncommon on East Coast, rare on Pacific Coast. During migration, prefers sod fields, dry mudflats, and pastures; often in small flocks, sometimes mixed with Black-bellied Plover. Winters in South America. Note voice: a plaintive “pleedoo” call.



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