Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black-bellied Plover

Black-bellied Plovers breed in the Arctic of the New and Old Worlds. In this hemisphere, they winter along most coasts of the United States and south along the South American coasts. During migration they fly across the Great Plains. These photos were taken in Florida in the winter. Usually this species is not difficult to identify. Their backs are grayer than those of golden-plovers—indeed these birds are called Grey Plovers in Europe. Identification is clinched when you see their black “arm pits.”

In mixed shorebird flocks, Black-bellied Plovers act as sentinels. They are “wary and quick to give alarm calls” (Johnson and Conners 2010). Due to this wariness, Black-bellied Plovers better survived the market hunters of the early 1900s than did other large shorebirds.

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