Tibetan Sand-Plover Anarhynchus atrifrons

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Identification

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Medium-sized plover with a pale throat, brown back, and white belly. Breeding adults have a black mask and a bright orange chest and neck; males average brighter than females. Non-breeding and immature birds are brownish above and white below, with a variable white forehead and eyebrow. Compare with slightly larger Greater Sand-Plover; Tibetan is proportionally smaller-headed and darker-legged, and its shorter bill has a slight bulge at the tip. Smaller Kentish Plover can be similar in non-breeding plumage; Tibetan is taller and longer-legged, without Kentish’s strong white neck band. Very difficult to distinguish from Siberian Sand-Plover, especially nonbreeding and immature birds, though identification can often be presumed by range. In breeding plumage, note the more extensive black mask of Tibetan, typically lacking the white spot on the forehead of Siberian. In nonbreeding plumage, look for a generally broken breast band and clean white flanks in Tibetan. In areas of overlap many birds best left unidentified. Breeds on margins of high-elevation lakes and rivers in China and Mongolia; winters on coastal mudflats, beaches, and inland lakes from Africa to Indonesia.

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