The Shorebirds


These birds live near the shore. You may call them shorebird, waterbird, aquatic bird, or wader. I photographed them in the wilderness, most of them around San Francisco Bay Area, and few others around the world. Identifying these birds were tougher than photographing them. The naming and other details are documented on my best effort basis. If you find any of them were not named correctly, please leave a comment with your suggestion.

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Common Name

American Avocet

Scientific Name

Recurvirostra Americana

Unique Identification

Medium Size Aquatic Bird, mostly white body with black patches on wings, breeding adult has a rusty head and neck

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Hwaian Stilt

Scientific Name

Himantopus Mexicanus Knudseni

Unique Identification

Medium size with white bottom, black top; long-legged, long & thin beak, slender shorebird.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Common Tern

Scientific Name

Sterna Hirundo

Unique Identification

Medium size migratory bird during winter in coastal region, it is pale gray overall with a black cap. Breeding birds have a fully black cap that extends to the back of the neck and a gray belly.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Common Name

Great White Pelican

Scientific Name

Pelecanus Onocrotalus

Unique Identification

Large white waterbird with massive wing that has some black feathers, a long neck, and a massive bill that gives the head a unique, long shape.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Brown Pelican

Scientific Name

Pelecanus Occidentalis

Unique Identification

A Huge Brown seabird.It has thin necks and very long bills with a stretchy throat pouch used for capturing fish. Groups of Brown Pelicans fly low over the waves and rest on large rocks near the shore. Breeding Bird's bill and pouch turns little red.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Natural Bridge, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Natural Bridge, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Natural Bridge, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Common Name

Double-crested cormorant

Scientific Name

Phalacrocorax auritus

Unique Identification

Large black aquatic diving bird, with a small patch of yellow-orange skin on the face.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Common Name

Canada Goose

Scientific Name

Branta canadensis

Unique Identification

A large bird in goose family with a black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, and a brown body.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Common goldeneye

Scientific Name

Bucephala clangula

Unique Identification

Medium-sized sea duck with radiant amber eye, glistening green-black head, and crisp black-and-white body and wings

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Canvasback Duck

Scientific Name

Aythya valisineria

Unique Identification

A large, big-headed diving duck with a gently sloping forehead and a stout neck. The male has white back and brown neck, with a patch of black in between. The female body is slightly grey.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Mallard

Scientific Name

Anas platyrhynchos

Unique Identification

Medium to Large Duck that are most common among duck species around the world. The male has glittering greenish head.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

American Coot

Scientific Name

Fulica Americana

Unique Identification

Large Aquatic Bird, Black Body, White Bill, and red eyes. Slight grey patch on forehead.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Red fronted Coot

Scientific Name

Fulica Rufifrons

Unique Identification

Large Black aquatic bird. The tip of the bill is yellow but rest of it is red, especially the forehead has red patch.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Common Name

American Pekin

Scientific Name

Anas Platyrhynchos Domesticus

Unique Identification

Medium to Large Aquatic Bird, completely white body and a flat yellow bill. They look like mallard duck, only white.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Los Gatos Creek Trail, CA, USA

Los Gatos Creek Trail, CA, USA

Los Gatos Creek Trail, CA, USA

Common Name

Surf scoter

Scientific Name

Melanitta perspicillata

Unique Identification

Large sea duck. Adult males are entirely black with white patches on the forehead and the nape and adult females are slightly smaller and browner.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Common Name

Green Winged Teal

Scientific Name

Anas Carolinensis

Unique Identification

Relatively smaller duck than mallard, they have green feathers on wing and at top of the head.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Common loon

Scientific Name

Gavia immer

Unique Identification

Medium to large Aquatic Bird, mostly with black and white pattern on the body. They change colors in winter with grey on the back and white belly.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA> Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

Common Name

Pied Billed Grebe

Scientific Name

Podilymbus Podiceps

Unique Identification

A small bird in the grebe family, pied billed grebe are dark brown on top, and tawny-brown on the underparts. They are diving bird, very common across North America.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Snowy Egret

Scientific Name

Egretta Thula

Unique Identification

Medium Size shorebird, Snowy Egret is small white heron. As the name suggest, they are all white with a black bill, black legs, and yellow feet. They have a patch of yellow skin at the base of the bill.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Great egret

Scientific Name

Ardea alba

Unique Identification

Great Egrets are tall, long-legged wading birds with long, S-curved necks and long, dagger-like bills. The way to distinguish them from snowy egret is their larger size and yellow bill whereas snowy has black bill.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Great blue heron

Scientific Name

Ardea herodias

Unique Identification

Probably the largest bird in heron family, they often stand at knee deep water body, waiting for prey.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Purple Heron

Scientific Name

Ardea purpurea

Unique Identification

They are slightly smaller than the great blue heron and the color is slightly purple type.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Long Billed Curlew

Scientific Name

Numenius americanus

Unique Identification

Large shorebird with very long legs. Their bill is long but curved. This North American bird is often seen at shore catching small crabs.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Pismo Beach, CA, USA

Moss Landing beach, Monterrey, CA, USA

Moss Landing beach, Monterrey, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Moss Landing beach, Monterrey, CA, USA Moss Landing beach, Monterrey, CA, USA Moss Landing beach, Monterrey, CA, USA

Common Name

Stilt Sandpipers

Scientific Name

Calidris Himantopus

Unique Identification

Small to Medium Size Aquatic Bird. The back is brown with dark patches white the lower body is grey brown. The bill is long and black.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Least Sandpiper

Scientific Name

Calidris Minutilla

Unique Identification

They are smallest shorebird. They have brown upper parts and white under parts. Their bills are black, and their legs are yellowish-green.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Moss Landing beach, Monterrey, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Common Name

Common Gull

Scientific Name

Larus Canus

Unique Identification

Medium Size Sea Bird, mostly white body with grey patches on wings, yellow bill with dark patch. They feed on mainly fish, often snatch food from other animals and human.

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Bay Trail, Mountain View, CA, USA

Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, CA, USA

AmazingActionShots

ActionShot Location

Natural Bridge, Santa Cruz, CA, USA Natural Bridge, Santa Cruz, CA, USA Natural Bridge, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

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