Birds Of Southern California


Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

The Black-bellied Plover is a medium-sized plover breeding in Arctic regions. It is a long-distance migrant, with a nearly worldwide coastal distribution when not breeding. They are 27–30 cm (11–12 in) long with a wingspan of 71–83 cm (28–33 in) and a weight of 190–280 g (6.7–9.9 oz) (up to 345 g (12.2 oz) in preparation for migration). In spring and summer (late April or May to August), the adults are spotted black and white on the back and wings. The face and neck are black with a white border; they have a black breast and a white rump. The tail is white with black barring. The bill and legs are black. They moult to winter plumage in mid August to early September and retain this until April; this being a fairly plain grey above, with a grey-speckled breast and white belly. The juvenile and first-winter plumages, held by young birds from fledging until about one year old, are similar to the adult winter plumage but with the back feathers blacker with creamy white edging. In all plumages, the inner flanks and axillary feathers at the base of the underwing are black, a feature which readily distinguishes it from the other three Pluvialis species in flight. On the ground, it can also be told from the other Pluvialis species by its larger (24–34 mm (0.94–1.34 in)), heavier bill.[2][3] In spring and summer, mating season comes and the adults' bellies of this species turn black whether the bird is still in its wintering place (for example, on a beach in Sanibel Island, Florida) because it does not want to migrate, or in its breeding grounds up in the arctic of northern Canada and Alaska. More at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluvialis_squatarola

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