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.
Photos can be viewed in larger size in the lightbox. Just click on any of the photo and a lightbox will appear, then use left or right arrow, or the mouse pointer to browse through the rest. However, lightbox does not display the respective caption or documentation.

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

Comments