American Golden-Plover medium sized bird on ground with scalloped feathers on back of blackand gold with a black face and bill with a black cap and a white eyebrow that wraps to back of neck and around to line below face

American Golden-Plover

This series with Dr. Kevin McGowan gets you up-close-and-personal with the shorebirds of the United States and Canada. You’ll get to know their markings and behaviors so that next time you see a gathering of shorebirds on the beach, you’ll be able to confidently add each species to your list.

Featuring 47 shorebirds from across the United States and Canada, this course will help you enjoy the thrill of recognizing everything from sandpipers to snipes and plovers.

Series Format

This 5 session shorebird identification series was recorded as live-streamed webinars in 2014. Bird Academy is now offering the video archives of this popular series so that you can jumpstart your shorebird identification skills—this time completely at your own pace. Each session contains one hour of streamed online video instruction by Dr. Kevin McGowan, plus a downloadable handout to help you take notes as you watch. Videos are closed captioned and you can come back to them as often as you like. This series is entirely online, nothing is shipped. This series doesn’t expire.

What You’ll Learn

The Most Important Things
Discover the diversity of shorebirds and learn how to distinguish among the species using shape, size, and behavior.

Other Important Clues
Explore other clues for shorebird identification, including color pattern, markings, habitat, and calls.

Introducing the Sandpipers
Get to know the key characteristics of every common North American sandpiper species. Learn about the “Tringines” and the common peeps.

Get to know: Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Willet, Stilt Sandpiper, Red Knot, Sanderling, Dunlin, Pectoral Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird’s Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper

Snipes and Small Others
Explore the field marks of snipes, dowitchers, phalaropes, turnstones, and other small sandpipers.

Get to know: Wilson’s Snipe, Short-billed Dowitcher, Long-billed Dowitcher, American Woodcock, Wilson’s Phalarope, Red-necked Phalarope, Red Phalarope, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Upland Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Purple Sandpiper, Rock Sandpiper, Wandering Tattler, Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper

Plovers and Big Others
Dive in to the plovers and the rest of the shorebirds including curlews and godwits, stilts, and oystercatchers.

Get to know: Killdeer, Semipalmated Plover, Wilson’s Plover, Piping Plover, Snowy Plover, Black-bellied Plover, American Golden-Plover, Pacific Golden-Plover, Mountain Plover, Hudsonian Godwit, Marbled Godwit, Whimbrel, Long-billed Curlew, Black Oystercatcher, American Oystercatcher, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet

“At last – a systematic approach to shorebird ID! It beats attempting to do so with a bird guide – even a well-written one!” -Series graduate

Only $29.99
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Satisfaction Guarantee

Our educators and birding experts take pride in the courses they create. If you're not satisfied with the material for ANY reason, contact us within 30 days of the start of the course or purchase for a full refund.

Meet Your Instructor

Kevin McGowan

Dr. Kevin McGowan, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Dr. Kevin J. McGowan combines deep knowledge about birds with passion for helping others to learn. He is a professional ornithologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and one of the world’s foremost experts on the behavior of crows. Kevin is also an accomplished birder and World Series of Birding champion. He is the creator of the popular Be a Better Birder series of courses and live webinars and co-author of the Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology online course.


American Golden-Plover: Alvan Buckley ML60966561