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Golden Plover (Hong Kong) - how to confirm as Pacific? (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
I took these photos today at Mai Po, Hong Kong. I know that the default golden plover here is Pacific. But I would nevertheless like guidance as to whether these photos conclusively determine them to be Pacific, rather than European or American.

The bird in the third picture seems to show white flanks with sparse black barring, but I think it's possible that the wings are hiding the flanks and that the apparent black barring beneath the closed wing is just the underparts moulting into breeding plumage.

(In case you're wondering, European has been recorded in Hong Kong.)

Thank you!


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Well-known member
Tertial tips fall short of the primary tips, which themselves are barely longer than the tail tip. This is normal for Pacific.

AGP would likely show a clearly longer primary projection beyond the tail, and likely much less gold spangling on the upper parts (much greyer overall impression)

This bird has noticeably bolder spangling than EGP, and very long tibia (the part of the leg above the knee).

Black underparts are still developing as it is still early spring.

Hence, these look like clear PGPs to me.
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Well-known member
Like you say, Pacific GP is the default here in HK. It's a locally common winter visitor and passage migrant. There are two or three records of European and no confirmed records of American so far.

These birds all look typical of Pacific GP to me, in various stages of moult (which is typical at this time of year).
European should show a different structure, eg shorter legs, larger head/neck. The pattern of the upperparts is also slightly different - these birds have large golden spots and golden fringes typical of Pacific, whereas European has smaller notches on the feather edges. Bird 2 is mostly in winter plumage and the head has a prominent supercilium and dark eye stripe, which would not be expected on European (the other two are partly in breeding plumage, so this feature probably can't be used).
I'm not familiar with American GP, but I would expect that to also differ in structure. In particular, the primary projection on American should be longer than on these birds


Well-known member
Cross posted with John, but it looks like we generally agree. I hadn't realised more than 2 birds were involved. Must read more carefully! 🧐
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