Black-Bellied Plovers

black-bellied plover on rocks
The black-bellied plovers should be one of the easiest shorebirds to ID, right? But a few factors to consider are; 1) other plovers species have black bellies. 2) black-bellied plovers don't always have black bellies. How black a belly they have depends on age, time of year, breeding cycle, and numerous other factors. This is a breeding male Black-bellied Plover.

young black bellied ploverlover
This is (I believe) a juvenile black-bellied plover. Personally, I recognize the big, round eyes more than the striped or mottled plumage. The white belly is another clue.

black bellied plover family
I think there is a female, a male, an immature, and a juvenile - along with various other species. What do you think?

black bellied plover 2
Breeding male, most definitely.

go plovers go
Black-bellied Plover family in flight. I have no clue who's who here. How about you tell me?


  1. I'm sticking my neck out here, but I think the two on the top left are Dunlin, and I also think you have some Sanderlings in assorted plumages (the ones with the white line along the wings) & only one Black-bellied Plover, top right. But truth be told, I'm not real sure about some; they're in various plumage stages and that's not an area I'm very good at. You were much closer to them.

  2. My limited knowledge disappears the minute they start flying, Chris - but you are clearly correct that there is only one Black-bellied Plover in the group. I see the Dunlins, too - maybe more than two? You are much more skilled than I!

    The funny thing is that I thought it would be easier in May with no confounded juveniles and no molting to speak of. But if wasn't much better at all. Book can only help so much. It is a real art to be able to identify these guys, in my opinion. Thanks for your help!

  3. Susan, awesome pictures of the Black-bellied Plovers! It was a life bird for me during my recent trip to Plum Island, at least it was the first time I identified one.

  4. O, some nice photos of the BBP!

  5. Love the (Grey) Plover with its distinctive large eye plus of course the black waistcoat in breeding plumage. Nice shooting Susan.


I love positive comments, critical comments,and corrections most of all!