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Birds of Yosemite National Park (1954, 1963) by Cyril A. Stebbins and Robert C. Stebbins


PLOVER-LIKE BIRDS: Order Charadriiformes

PLOVERS: Family Charadriidae

KILLDEER
KILLDEER
KILLDEER (Charadrius vociferus): 9-11 in. Above brown; rump and base of tail feathers rusty; below white; two black bands on chest; white band around neck; white thumb-marks on tail feathers diminishing in size toward center. Runs along the ground as though balancing a package on its head. Immature: Generally duller with more rust above. Voice a shrill, high-pitched kill-dee, kill-dee, accent on last syllable; may be heard calling late at night. Eggs often laid on bare ground in gravelly or sandy place where difficult to see because of their resemblance to the background.

Frequents meadows, cultivated lands, and shores of lakes, ponds, and streams. Widespread, abundant R., withdrawing from higher elevations and more northerly areas in winter. S.V. to wet meadows in Yosemite region such as Tuolumne Meadows and parts of Yosemite Valley.


SNIPE, SANDPIPERS, ETC.: Family Scolopacidae

SPOTTED SANDPIPER
SPOTTED SANDPIPER
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularia): 7-8 in. Above brown; faint white line over eye; line of white spots in wing when extended; tail short, brown, outer feathers barred with brown and white; below white with round dusky spots; spots absent in immature birds and in adults in winter; bill orange-yellow, slightly curved downward. Bobs and teeters. In flight wings curve downward in shallow arc and wingtips vibrate. Voice peet weet, the first note the higher. Eggs often found laid on bare gravelly or sandy ground.

Frequents rocky ocean shores in winter. Summers in mountains, frequenting sand- and gravelbars along streams and lake shores. S. V. to Yosemite region. Seen along the Merced River in Yosemite Valley (where it nests) or in Tuolumne Meadows.


COMMON SNIPE
COMMON SNIPE
COMMON SNIPE (Capella gallinago): 10 1/2-11 1/2 in. Plumage generally brown; crown crossed by black and white stripes; brown line from bill to eye; long, slender, straight bill; tail reddish-brown with black bars and whitish tip; belly whitish; breast light brown marked with darker brown spots. Seldom seen away from cover, where it is well concealed.

Breeds chiefly east of the Sierra and to the north. C. V. to Yosemite region, having been observed in Yosemite Valley and on the Tuolumne River at 9,000 feet.


AVOCETS AND STILTS: Family Recurvirostridae

AMERICAN AVOCET
AMERICAN AVOCET
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana): 16-20 in. Head, neck, and breast washed with light cinnamon-brown; eye-ring and base of bill white; white patch down middle of back bordered on each side with black, black areas in turn bordered with broad white stripes; belly white; bill long, upturned; iris red. Adult in winter and immature: Head, neck, and chest grayish.

Frequents expanses of shallow water as in marshes or grazing lands; inhabits coastal shores. C. V. to Yosemite region. A single record for Yosemite Valley, several for Tenaya Lake and Tuolumne meadows. Often seen at Mono Lake in summer.


PHALAROPES: Family Phalaropodidae

WILSON’S PHALAROPE (Steganopus tricolor): 8 1/2-10 in. Female: Top of head, stripe down back of neck, and upper back ash-gray; black stripe back of eye extends down side of neck and blends with rich chestnut on lower neck; base of tail and under parts white; feet black; no light-colored wing stripe. Male: Similar to female but duller; top of head, wings, and back brown; sides of neck dull reddish-brown. Adult and immature in fall: Above ash-gray; white line over eye; under parts white; line back of eye, dusky.

The phalaropes show a reversal of the usual situation among birds. The female is the brighter and is the aggressor in courtship. The male incubates the eggs and cares for the young.

Frequents marshes and wet meadows where there is open shallow water. C. V. to Yosemite region where it has been observed in Yosemite Valley. Common S. V. on Mono Lake.

NORTHERN PHALAROPE
NORTHERN PHALAROPE
NORTHERN PHALAROPE (Lobipes lobatus): 7-8 in. Female: Back, hind-neck, and head slaty or lead-colored; back streaked with rusty; sides of neck and upper breast rufous; eyelids, chin, throat, and remaining under parts white; white bar in extended wing. Male: Resembles female but less reddish-brown and back marked with more black and white. Adults in winter and immature: Upper parts streaked with black and white; top of head and behind eye dusky; white line over eye.

Often seen in flocks. Head is moved back and forth when swimming. As with other phalaropes, a whirling motion of the body is often employed in feeding. This may stir up small aquatic animals that are common in their diet.

Most common along the coast but also on sloughs and ponds inland. C. V. to Yosemite region; observed in Yosemite Valley. Large numbers in spring and late summer on Mono Lake.

GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae

CALIFORNIA GULL
CALIFORNIA GULL
CALIFORNIA GULL (Larus californicus): 20-23 in. Head, neck, tail, and under parts white; back gray; primaries black, tipped with white; a large white spot inside tip of second primary and sometimes also first; bill pale yellow with red spot preceded by black spot near end of lower mandible; feet greenish-gray; iris dark brown. In a flock of gulls, many may be seen that are mottled with grayish-brown and whitish, with, blackish primaries and black at the tip of the flesh-colored bill; others approach more nearly the plumage of the adults. Such birds are immatures, 1 to 3 years old.

Along the coast and about inland bodies of water. C. V. to the Yosemite region. Observed on Tenaya Lake (8,141 feet) and Young Lake (10,000 feet) and on other lakes of the high Sierra. Abundant at Mono Lake.


RING-BILLED GULL
RING-BILLED GULL
RING-BILLED GULL (Larus delawarensis): 18-20 in. Resembles California gull, but bill yellow encircled by black band near tip, back lighter gray, feet yellow, and iris light yellow. Immature: Differs from California gull in having narrower and better defined dark band at tip of tail.

C. V. on interior bodies of water. Occasionally seen in Yosemite Valley.



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