Greater Sand-Plover – Accepted

1. 29 Jan–08 Apr 2001


Bolinas Lagoon MRN



Figs. 109–111, ph., video, Abbott et al. (2001), cover NAB 55(2)






Greater Sand-Plover

GREATER SAND-PLOVER Charadrius leschenaultii Lesson, 1826

Accepted: 1 (100%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 0

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 0

Color image: none

This species breeds in a relatively narrow range between the Middle East and southern Siberia. Like the similar Lesser Sand-Plover, the Greater winters along the coast of the Indian Ocean from South Africa to Indonesia and in the southwestern Pacific from Japan’s southern islands (Cramp 1983, Brazil 1991) south to Australia. The species is a vagrant to Europe (Lewington et al. 1991) but was unrecorded in North America before California’s record.

Among the most surprising birds ever to appear in California was a first-winter Greater Sand-Plover present from 29 January to 8 April 2001 at Bolinas Lagoon, Marin County (Abbott et al. 2001; Figures 109–111). Although this bird’s bill was long, seemingly eliminating a Lesser Sand-Plover, were it not for efforts to capture this individual and compare its measurements to a series of museum skins (see Abbott et al. 2001) its identity might never have been established with certainty.

The Greater Sand-Plover’s potential for vagrancy to California was considered to be low before this record. Such events reinforce the need to document records of the more “expected” vagrants thoroughly enough to eliminate all other species that might also reach California. Works by Hayman et al. (1986), Hirschfield et al. (2000), Paulson (2005), and O’Brien et al. (2006) are helpful with regard to identifying sand-plovers.