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East Asia: which Sand Plover? (1 Viewer)

HokkaidoStu

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On Friday I saw a Sandplover on one of the local beaches here in Hokkaido Japan, I identified it as a Lesser (Mongolian) Sandplover. The first 2 pictures are of this bird, it was very shy and these are heavily cropped images.

The next day I relocated what I thought was the same bird, I could get much closer and got some nice shots (the last 3 pics). I assumed it was just a Lesser Sand Plover, like I say the same individual as the day before but this time closer and in nice light.

But now I'm not sure. Could the second bird (pics 3,4,5) be a Greater Sand Plover?

Thanks in advance for anyone taking the time to reply...........
 

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HokkaidoStu

occasional moderator
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Anyone? I have a lifer riding on this...............I'm veering towards a Greater for the second bird.......
 
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Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
Gulp.... as no-one's started yet, my guess would be a Greater Sand Plover. The bill is smallish but has a pronounced gonys, the head looks rather large compared to the body, and the legs much greener than I've seen on any Lesser, and there's a reasonable distance between the "knee" and the body. But I find some individuals hard enough to ID even when next to "obvious" ones, so I'd get another opinion!
 

JANJ

Well-known member
Hi Stu.

They are all Lessers imo. Inspite of the long tibia in the three last images of the same individual, which aparently are a different individual than the one in the two first images, the bill dimensions points to Lesser, probably the mongolus group, which could explain the short legged impression of the first bird, note, however, the differnt impression of tibia lengt between the two first images. The greenish legs - supposed to be a Greater character but is variable and especially in juveniles can be rather similar.

Check here Stu.

http://shorebirds.exblog.jp/blog.asp?iid=&acv=&dif=&opt=2&srl=7892979&dte=2008-01-03+07:52:00.000

JanJ
 

StuartReeves

Local rarity
As Larry says, this is a tough species pair! I think all photos are of the same individual; certainly I have not been able to find any differences in plumage or structure between the two sets of photos. However, this has to come with the caveat that the different postures and lighting hamper direct comparison. Leaving all that aside, my gut reaction (which I cannot claim as reliable) was Greater Sandplover.

Edit: what Larry said! Jan's forensic analysis is likley to be a much better guide than my gut reaction!
 

HokkaidoStu

occasional moderator
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Thanks for all the replies.

Just to clarify, the first 2 pictures are of the same bird and the last 3 pics are of another individual the next day.

Is it me or does the bill look longer on the second bird? No?
 

JANJ

Well-known member
I think the bill lenght in these two individuals (as you say) looks approx the same although difficult to see properly due to angle. The point, however, is the shortness and blutness of the bill, which is typical for Lesser compared to the more or less pointed bill tip of Greater.

JanJ
 

HokkaidoStu

occasional moderator
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A couple more images, the 1st one is the bird from Friday and the second is the bird from Saturday.
 

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StuartReeves

Local rarity
Hmm, it would have been helpful if these shots were posted originally as they make comparison between the two birds much easier. If nothing else they do it make it clear that two different birds were involved.
 

HokkaidoStu

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Hi Stuart, some more shots of the 2nd bird are here.

There's also a video I took.

The Plover in question (the second one) is towards the end, after about a minute of the Red Necked Stints. It's only 3 rather short clips though.
 
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Dimitris

Birdwatcher in Oz
A couple more images, the 1st one is the bird from Friday and the second is the bird from Saturday.

The 1st bird is ridicilously cute and is a Lesser IMO as it's bill length appears to be less then the distance between its eye and bill. 2nd bird is a Greater imo as the bill length appears to be equal to the distance between its eye and beak... Also it looks more chuncky and elongated...

That's how I try to tell them apart but its best to have both side by side...

Cheers,

D.
 

HokkaidoStu

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Thanks Dimitris, I concur about the bill, it's much shorter on the first one. I'm confident the first one is a Lesser.

The 2 individuals look pretty different to each other, I guess it depends how variable Lessers are.
 

johnallcock

Well-known member
I would say that both are Lessers. The bill on the second bird does look on the long side, but still does not seem as long as I would expect for Greater, lacks an obvious 'nail' above, and seems fairly deep throughout the length. As Jan has mentioned, it seems to be rather blunt-tipped. The bird also lacks the front-heavy, large-headed look I associate with Greater.

These show Greater Sandplover for comparison:
http://orientalbirdimages.org/search.php?p=12&Bird_ID=1020&Bird_Family_ID=&pagesize=1
http://www.hkbws.org.hk/BBS/viewthread.php?tid=12003&extra=page=1
 

Mat & Cathy

Well-known member
Stu
Here's a shot of a Greater SP from Darwin, Australia.
Looks much longer legged and longer billed than your bird.
My vote (not worth that much) is for both your birds to be Lesser.
Cheers
Mat
PS - very nice photos you took - much better than my distant example.
 

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HokkaidoStu

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Thanks for the replies, the consensus seems to be 2 Lesser Sand Plovers, one looking somewhat larger and longer billed than the other but within normal variations of the species.

Lesser is much commoner in Japan anyway so I guess it is to be expected.

Damn, looks like I need to find me a real GS Plover then!
 

HokkaidoStu

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Thanks Jan, some good links there.

My one had a long bill but not as long as most of those pics................I know what to look for next time at least...........
 

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