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Armchair birding: Six photos of plovers

We love it when photos we find in our galleries allow us to compare field marks of birds we see in the field. Below we’ve assembled photos of Snowy, Wilson’s, Piping, and Semipalmated Plovers and Killdeer. Each bird has a full or partial breastband, but as the pictures show, bill color, bill shape, leg color, and the color of the upper parts are what matter most.

Snowy Plover and Wilson’s Plover

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Both Snowy Plover (top) and Wilson’s Plover (bottom) have black bills, white undersides, and drab pinkish gray legs, but the colors of their upperparts are markedly different. Snowy is pale gray-brown, light enough to disappear before your eyes on a sunlit beach, while Wilson’s is darker. The shape and size of the birds’ bills differ, too. The bill of Snowy Plover is thin. The bill of Wilson’s is thick — thicker, in fact, than all the birds pictured on this page.

Teri Franzen photographed the Snowy Plover on Sanibel Island, Florida. Phillip Hardy found the Wilson’s Plover on Jekyll Island, Georgia.

See more photos of Snowy Plover.

See more photos of Wilson’s Plover.

Originally Published

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