Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Kentish Plover

I found this pair of Kentish Plover on May 6th at Sekinoe beach. I think the population of Kentish Plover has somewhat increased comparing to the first year that I started living here. I think it's probably due to the construction of more sandy beaches along the Beppu Bay. Now whenever I go to any beach, I can see at least a bird or two running along the tide line. This pair seemed to be nesting somewhere along the beach which I have located yet. The male bird was a little more approachable than the female but both were still considerably shy comparing to many other Kentish Plovers I've seen around here.

Male Kentish Plover in breeding plumage

Here with the female on the left

Female Kentish Plover showing just a faint orange wash on the face

Note its pale fleshy legs and brownish crown

I recently checked photos of Swinhoe's(White-faced) Plovers in OBI and saw that many individuals labelled as Swinhoe's actually look almost identical to the birds here in Japan, which I assume are the race C. a. nihonensis. For example, this male bird photographed by Jon Hornbuckle in Fuzhou, China. Basically, I don't see any notable difference from the one breeds in Japan, probably just very slightly paler lore. The female also looks very similar to the Japanese one. Swinhoe's Plovers photographed in SE Asia look much different though. They don't have black lore and show very faint facial mask. I'm getting confused here. Any thoughts on this are highly welcomed.


  1. Can't help you with the subspecies ID...........but great photos nevertheless!

  2. Ayuwat, I agree they look very similar. One difference worth checking is the length of the lateral breast patches. In my experience, on nihonensis these are rather long, whereas on dealbatus they are short (shorter even then the alexandrinus). When viewed head on, on dealbatus the white between the breast patches is about the same width as each breast patch, whereas on nihonensis and alexandrinus, the white is much narrower than the breast patches. On some nihonensis the breast patches actually meet in the centre. I'd be interested to see any head-on pics you have of these birds.