American Golden-Plover male in breeding plumage
Photo © Bob Gress
9 1/2 - 11 1/4 inches
23 1/2 - 28 3/4 inches
Robin-sized and short-billed, this unbanded plover has an upright posture.
During the breeding season, look for the black belly extending from the throat to the end
of the tail. Golden, black, brown and white marks are distinctive. They show an overall
gray plumage with darker speckling during the nonbreeding season.
- Similar Species:
This species was formerly classified with Pacific Golden-Plover as Lesser
Golden-Plover. Pacific Golden-Plovers and European Golden-Plovers have not been reported
in the Great Plains but are similar in appearance. Black-bellied
Plovers in nonbreeding plumage offer the most challenge for Great Plains birders. Look
for the absence of black wing pits in flying American Golden-Plovers. American
Golden-Plovers are noticeably smaller than Black-bellied Plovers.
This species breeds on the arctic tundra, winters in coastal and inland
areas of southern South America and is primarily seen in the Great Plains during spring
migration foraging in short grass areas including recently burned tallgrass prairies. Fall
migrants are less common in the central and southern Great Plains than in the northern
Other Great Plains
Text: Suzanne Fellows and Bob Gress
Web Design: Jim Mason