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A photo of a American Golden Plover (Pluvialis dominica)
American Golden Plover

American Golden Plover

Pluvialis dominica

The American golden plover (Pluvialis dominica), is a medium-sized plover. The genus name is Latin and means relating to rain, from pluvia, "rain". It was believed that golden plovers flocked when rain was imminent. The breeding adult American golden plover has a black face, neck, breast, and belly, with a white crown and nape that extends to the side of the breast. The back is mottled black and white with pale, gold spots. The breeding female is similar, but with less black. When in winter plumage, both sexes have grey-brown upperparts, pale grey-brown underparts, and a whitish eyebrow. The head is small, along with the bill. It is similar to two other golden plovers, European and Pacific. The American golden plover is smaller, slimmer and relatively longer-legged than European golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria) which also has white axillary (armpit) feathers. It is more similar to Pacific golden plover (Pluvialis fulva) with which it was once considered conspecific under the name "lesser golden plover". The Pacific golden plover is slimmer than the American species, has a shorter primary projection, and longer legs, and is usually yellower on the back.
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