Common Ringed Plover

Charadrius hiaticula

This species is accidental, but possibly overlooked in the Pribilof Islands. The only confirmed record is of a single bird in the fall (when this species is accidental in Alaska) of 1992. On other islands in the Bering Sea (such as the Western Aleutians and Saint Lawrence) this species is nearly annual in spring. To separate this species from its new-world counterpart, the Semipalmated Plover (which is a local breeder on Saint Paul) one must look for a variety of features. Common Ringed Plovers should show a bold white eyebrow, very thick black breast band and longer more extensively orange-based bill. Given exceptional views check for the presence of an eyering (partial or lacking in Common Ringed), and also check both the shape of the white forehead patch (more oval shaped in Semipalmated), and the extent to which the black on the face meets the bill (on Semipalmated the black meets only the upper mandible, on Common Ringed the black meets both mandibles). The best feature to use in the separation of these very similar species is undoubtedly their call notes, which in Semipalmated is a slurredchuu-wheat, and on Common Ringed is a flutelike softtoo-eeee.