Greater and Lesser Sand Plover

In summer plumages

These fine images of male and female  Lesser Sand Plovers  were taken earlier this month (part of group of c 200) by Simon Buckell in Mersing, east coast peninsular Malaysia. Unfortunately like a number of SE Asian wetlands, construction on new development which will destroy shorebird habitat also began this month.

Lesser Sand Plover ‘atrifrons group’

Adult male Lesser Sand Plover, Malaysia, 2nd May 2012. Simon Buckell.

Adult female Lesser Sand Plover, Malaysia, 2nd May 2012. Simon Buckell. Compare the much fresher upperparts (especially wing coverts) on the Lessers above with the much more worn feathers on Greaters below. Overall Lessers moult in and out of summer plumage a couple of months later than these West Asian Greater Sand Plovers.

Greater Sand Plover

Thought to compare I would add these, taken at the wonderful K20 salt pans, Eilat, S. Israel, on our my last day this year (end of the Eilat Bird Festival). The  adult male seems obvious enough but what age and sex are the other 2, differently plumage individuals?

Adult male Greater Sand Plover, Eilat, Israel, 2nd April 2012. The more extensive orange in underparts is typical of ssp. columbinus

Greater Sand Plover, Eilat, Israel, 2nd April 2012. With a fair bit of black patterning around the face, I wonder if this is a less advanced male?

 Greater Sand Plover, Eilat, Israel, 2nd April 2012. With no black around the face I wonder if this is a female. It seems first summer males, though may look similar. Don’t know enough about it.

3 thoughts on “Greater and Lesser Sand Plover

  1. Laurent Vallotton

    It is a different subject, but your article remind me of odd plumaged Kentish Plovers I photographed in Oman in February 2010 ( Those had an overall rufous tinge, especially in the neck patches. Apparently from a local subspecies but they didn’t fit the description of any subspecies. Anyway I could never get an image of such a bird again, on the net or in any book.
    Here more images from the same place, with “regular” Kentish Plovers”:

    Maybe worth a post?

    Best regards!

    Laurent Vallotton

  2. Laurent Vallotton

    Interesting bird! Quite puzzling because, except for the rufous tinge, “your” bird looks much darker than the few individuals we saw (upperparts, lores), and the breast band is also a feature that goes in the direction of a dark individual (or race?). It also looks small (but this is difficult to judge without comparison), a feature of the arabian race that is also supposed to be rufous patched (after Cramp et al.). Our rufous patched individuals were taller than the “regular” Kentish Plovers we could directly compare with.


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