PIPING PLOVER

Piping plover in breeding plumage
Piping plover in breeding plumage
Photo
Bob Gress

 

Piping Plover
Charadrius melodus

Length: 
6 3/4 - 7 1/4 inches
Wingspan: 

18 - 18 3/4 inches

Piping plover in nonbreeding plumage
Piping plover in nonbreeding plumage
Photo
Judd Patterson, used by permission

Description:   This is a sparrow-sized, light tan to gray and white plover. During breeding, the single, partial black neck band, black forehead band, orange legs and black-tipped orange bill are indicative characteristics. In nonbreeding plumages, dark markings are not present, the bill is entirely black but the legs remain orange.

 

  • Similar Species:  Piping Plovers are commonly confused with Semipalmated and Snowy plovers. Orange legs in combination with a light colored body will distinguish Piping Plover in all plumages from other small plovers.
  • Comments:  Piping Plovers are a federally listed species throughout their range. Destruction of habitat and disturbance by humans are two main concerns. Like all shorebirds, they should be left to feed and nest without being disturbed. Found breeding in several areas in the Great Plains and wintering along coastal areas, they favor sandy beaches along the ocean, wetlands, lakes, rivers and reservoirs.

Other Great Plains Plovers

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER SNOWY PLOVER
AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER MOUNTAIN PLOVER
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER KILLDEER

Follow the tracks!


Peep's Puddle
Text: Suzanne Fellows and Bob Gress
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