Black-bellied Plover

Pluvialis squatarula

Black-bellied Plovers are only a casual vagrant to the Pribilofs, and to the Bering Sea in gerneral, with only two records prior to the year 2000. During the period of 2000-2005 however, Black-bellied Plovers were detected three more times, perhaps indicating that the species is becoming more a more regular stray offshore in the Bering Sea. Of the five Pribilof records, one occurred in mid May, two in late May, one in mid June and one in mid July. Most of these records come from the salt flats at the south end of the Salt Lagoon. Alternate adult Black-bellied Plovers are unlikely to be mistaken, as their black bellies and axillaries are offset by a crisp white and black back, white crown and white neck. Juveniles and basic plumaged adults however must be separated from American and Pacific Golden-plovers. If the black underwings can be clearly seen then one can be confident that it is indeed a Black-bellied Plover. If not look for the larger, plumper frame, longer and deeper based bill, generally gray upperparts (especially the crown) and generally streaked underparts. Both species of Golden-Plover should show brighter upperparts (especially on Pacific Golden, which is the only commonPluvalisin the Pribilofs), smaller and thinner bills, and faintly barred underparts. The flight call of Black-bellied Plover is a three part whistle, whereas both species of Golden-Plovers have two-note whistles.