Identify This Mystery Shorebird

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Mystery shorebird, Avium mysteriosus, at Bolivar Flats, Texas.
Image: Joseph Kennedy, 25 August 2008 [larger view].
Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope with TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/640s f/8.0 at 1000.0mm iso400.

About GrrlScientist

grrlscientist is the pseudonym of an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist who writes about evolution, ethology, and ecology, especially in birds. After earning a degree in microbiology (thesis focus: virology) and working at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, she earned her PhD in zoology from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she studied the molecular correlates of testosterone and behaviour in white-crowned sparrows. She then worked a Chapman Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where she studied the speciation and distribution of lories and other parrots throughout the South Pacific Islands. A discarded scientist, she returned to her roots: writing. Formerly hosted by The Guardian (UK), she now writes about science for Forbes and for the non-profit think tank, the Evolution Institute and she writes podcasts for BirdNote Radio. An avid lifelong birder and aviculturist, she lives with a flock of songbirds and parrots somewhere in Germany.
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0 Responses to Identify This Mystery Shorebird

  1. harry Presberg says:

    Is it not one of those semipalmate plover thingys?
    Except it’s in Texas, where they do nothing by halves..

  2. Russell says:

    Looks a bit like a killdeer — which isn’t a shorebird — but it doesn’t have the black breast patch.

  3. Phoca says:

    Isn’t it a Ring-necked Plover?

  4. JPS says:

    I just got back from birding in Queens, NYC. If its not a semipalmated plover I’ve mis-identified the two birds I saw today.

  5. Barn Owl says:

    Can’t see the markings on its “face” too well, but since the beak looks dark and large, I guess Wilson’s plover.

  6. okay, there are some correct answers and some incorrect answers. shall i let a few more people guess or shall i just tell you what this bird’s ID is?

  7. The Ridger says:

    I believe that’s George…

  8. Barn Owl says:

    Let more peeps guess – Darren Naish tortures readers for ages with these identification posts. It builds character. 😉

  9. Cyndy says:

    I’d vote semipalmated. Wilson’s beak is longer and all dark (I see some orange here), and the legs should be “caucasian-flesh”-colored (these are yellow). Also I believe Bolivar Flats is too far north for Wilson’s. Not that I’ve seen either of these personally 🙂
    FYI, killdeer count as shorebirds even though they live away from the shore, all in one happy family with other plovers.

  10. Barn Owl says:

    I’ve seen the occasional Wilson’s Plover at Bolivar Flats, but I can certainly see your point about the smidge of orange on the beak, and the leg color, Cyndy. Especially now that I’m home on my MacBook Pro.
    The size of the beak seems a tough call to me, because of the angle, but it’s diagnostic in the field, so to speak.

  11. Ian says:

    It’s a seriosuly anorexic penguin….

  12. this is a semipalmated plover.