Pacific Golden-Plover, Pluvialis fulva


Pacific Golden-Plover, breeding
              plumage, 6/1/11, Teller Road, Nome, AK
The Pacific Golden-Plover, shown in breeding and non-breeding plumage above and below respectively, is distinguishable from the closely related American Golden-Plover in breeding plumage by white on the flanks, all black in the American. In non-breeding plumage (I don't have pictures for American) the Pacific generally has more yellow in the upperparts plumage and shorter wings -- the primary tips extend less beyond the tertials (typically three primary tips, as in the picture below, against four or five in American), and only a bit beyond the tail. Both of these species are distinguished from the Black-bellied Plover by the latter's lack of any yellow spots in the plumage, and, with wings raised, by its black axillaries (armpit feathers). Both golden-plover species nest in the far north, the Pacific mostly in Siberia, the American mostly in Canada, with overlap in western Alaska, where my breeding-plumage pictures of both were taken. Both are spectacular long-distance migrants, with the American wintering in South America, and the Pacific on the west coast of North America in small numbers, and in larger numbers throughout northeastern Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands (it is the golden-plover familiar to Americans visiting Hawaii in winter).


Pacific Golden Plover, 10/7/10,
              Pillar Point, San Mateo Co