Semipalmated Plover

Hey guys welcome back. Today the second of two semipalmated birds. Well, that’s only partially accurate. There are more than two, but there’s only two with the word semipalmated in their name. At least on my lifelist. Anyway, the semipalmated plover is today’s bird!

Semipalmated plover. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Jamaica, NY

Like the semipalmated sandpiper, the semipalmated plover has a few birds that are look-alikes. Although in the case of the plovers, they’re a bit easier to differentiate. First off, most people see the semipalmated plover and think it’s a killdeer. I think since killdeer are often found away from typical shorebird habitats, most people are simply more familiar with them. Two ways to tell a killdeer, one is size. They are quite large compared to the semipalmated plover. The other is killdeer have two dark bands across their breast while the semipalmated had only one. Probably the next closest look-alike is the Wilson’s plover. The Wilson’s plover has a much larger bill, and isn’t as darkly striped.

Semipalmated plovers. Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Jamaica Bay, NY

Semipalmated plovers are pretty common on beaches and mudflats throughout most of North America. They breed in northern Canada, winter in the Caribbean and along the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, and are found everywhere in between during migration. One cool thing about these little birds is that they usually don’t pay humans too much attention, and you can usually get closer to them than other shorebirds. Sticking to the shore, our next bird is a truly cool bird – the black skimmer! See you all then.

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