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Green Sandpiper vs Solitary - Barbados today (1 Viewer)


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Good evening all,
is there a way to prove from an image that a bird was a Green Sandpiper from a photo of a standing bird? I very strongly believe this was one because I saw it in flight and it had a white rump. Solitary would have had dark center and barring on the sides in this area. Voice was also similar to the recording of green S included on my app. And yes, Solitary is much more common but that is not the question. Other notes: greenish legs and dark underwing.

Green Sand P1280857.jpg
Nils, I would think Green Sandpiper is quite a rarity in your part of the world? The opposite is true here in the UK with Solitary being a major rarity.
If I saw your bird here it would stand out as unusual for a Green Sandpiper, looking quite elegant & long-legged, but I'd caution against drawing firm conclusions from a single image. We know that the same bird can look both 'compact' then 'slim and elegant' in different images! so we have to be mindful of that if you only have this one. Also, your bird seems to lack the more contrasty dark & white impression that Green Sandpiper usually gives.

I found quite a number of photos of Solitary showing 'too few' tail bars (according to how field guides depict them). In the attachment there are at least 3 birds that are comparable to yours in terms of this feature.

On your bird, the most striking feature on the face is the bold white eye-ring, which is at least equally noticeable to the white supercilium (over the loral area). This is typical for Solitary, whereas on Green, usually the bolder white loral line (joined to a thinner eye-ring) stands out the most.

From one image, it's hard to make strong conclusions one way or another, but your bird looks more typical for Solitary to me, in terms of its overall look or 'jizz'.

Sneaking out from beneath the folded wing there appears to be some flank-barring, which is a Solitary feature, but it isn't always visible in photos. This should favour Solitary over Green.

The only really 'wrong' feature I can see is that the primary projection should be longer in Solitary, extending beyond the tail, but what if this bird is in moult and has lost these feathers?

Other subjective features like different calls and dark underwing would really need to be backed up with photos and recordings of call as both species could be described as having dark underwings, and their calls are quite similar too.

I'm not saying your bird isn't a Green Sandpiper, but I don't see enough features to point away from Solitary just yet (but there are some unanswered questions...?) Is this really the only image you have?


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Thanks Steve for your analysis which very much agrees with what I have seen. One thing I cannot prove but saw in the field is that this bird had a white rump. The white rump was the reason for going closer and take the photos! So yes, I have other photos but not some showing completely different angles. I don’t know when I can look for more.

The identification of the bird: I am really not in doubt, I was hoping for some other clues in addition to the white rump. We were two observers both seeing the white rump.

And yes, it seems to be a first for Barbados and a second for eastern Caribbean.
I was there and got some additional photos. It appears to me that the dark bars (fewer in number than in most Solitary) are clearly separated from each other with white going all the way across the middle of the tail (last three images). On Solitary, those dark bars are connected by dark to to each other down the center of the tail. See attached. I believe these photos alone are adequate to confirm Green Sandpiper.


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