Yesterday an interesting Pluvialis plover was photographed by a semi-birder at Hatzor, Israel and was belatedly reported this evening. Unfortunately no images of the underwing were taken. Hopefully the bird sticks around for tomorrow morning but till then this is an interesting ID practice.
My first reaction when viewing the images was of apricaria by structure, especially the very heavy breast and belly and short tibia. Note especially the bottom image. Also in some images the bill looks pretty long and massive, while in other images it looks much more delicate. In all images the bird is in an alert posture which makes assessing the head and bill proportions more difficult. Also in none of the images the full length of the legs is visible.
A closer look at plumage details is confusing. First, the black unmoulted feathers in lower belly and undertail coverts should be a clincher for fulva, but other plumage details are not so good. Tertial pattern looks better for apricaria with fine notches; also coverts and mantle feathers look finely-patterned.
This bird is the nightmare of primary-projectors: it has missing tertail(s), and is in active primary moult so it is difficult to say whether the longest primary is missing (I think not). Does anyone have info about moult timing of Pluvialis plovers?
Any thoughts on this bird are welcome.