Piping Plover and Semipalmated Plover
Both Piping Plover (top and center) and Semipalmated Plover (bottom) have orange legs, and, in breeding plumage, black-tipped orange bills, but, again, the colors of their upperparts differ dramatically. Piping is very pale, lighter even than Snowy Plover, while Semipalmated is dark brown.
Semipalmated’s dark cheek and dark upperparts may remind you of Wilson’s, but Semipalmated’s legs are more colorful and its bill is smaller. Similarly, the dark bill of a nonbreeding or juvenile Piping (not pictured) may make you think of Snowy, but a quick look at those legs will dispel all doubt.
Piping’s breastband is usually broken, as shown in the center photo, which Kim Caruso took on Plum Island in Newbury, Massachusetts. Harry Collins photographed the Piping Plover at top at Barnegat Light in New Jersey. Brent Bremer spotted the Semipalmated Plover at Piute Ponds in California.Originally Published