White-faced Plover a.k.a. The Mystery Bird

White-faced Plover – the recently (re)discovered Plover Aegialites daelbatus

Although many people picture jungle when thinking of Thailand, the country also boasts plenty of shoreline. And with that come quite some species of water – and shore birds. For the Spoonbilled Sandpiper (Lepelbekstrandloper) I was too early in the season. But there’s another special bird around in the area of Laem Pak Bia: the recently (re)discovered White-faced Plover (geen Nederlandse naam bekend). Already described in the 1840’s, it has since then mysteriously disappeared from the field guides and taxonomy, but presumably has been mixed up with the Kentish Plover (Strandplevier). However in the early 1990’s several recordings were mentioned of a significantly paler bird in both Singapore and Malaysia. Since then more research has been done, and consensus nowadays is that the White-faced Plover is indeed a different (sub)species that simply has been overlooked for an incredible long time, especially surprising since South-east Asia is an area were lots of research has been done…. For some more information, you can read this link.

On the lookout for the Mystery Bird

Since 2008 the birds have also been recorded near Laem Pak Bia and have since become a  main attraction for birders visiting the area. I rented a fishing boat and went on a trip with a local birder, who after several stops finally found the bird for me ! Thank you Mr Daeng ! While I was seated in the boat with my camera ready, Mr Daeng stood in the water pushing to boat ever so slowly along the shore, to get me close enough to make some shots. While at the spot, I shot many other birds as well – some of which feature this post as well!

photocrati gallery

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