• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Piping Plover

Charadrius melodus ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: CHARADRIIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Near Threatened

A small pale shorebird of open sandy beaches and alkali flats, the Piping Plover is found along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, as well as inland in the northern Great Plains. Because of disturbance by people, all populations are considered endangered or threatened.

Big Day 2014
2014 FestivalSponsored Ad

At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
6.7–7.1 in
17–18 cm
Weight
1.5–2.2 oz
43–63 g
Other Names
  • Pluvier siffleur (French)
  • Chorlitejo picocorto (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Intruders near a Piping Plover nest are chased and may be pecked or bitten. In Manitoba, one Killdeer was observed entering a Piping Plover territory where it was bitten so hard on the leg that it limped for the rest of the summer.

Habitat


Shore-line

Open sandy beaches, especially above tideline, and alkalai flats.

Food


Insects

Insects and small aquatic invertebrates.

Nesting

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Ground Forager

Searches for prey visually. Runs rapidly, stops, and then pecks or quickly snatches at prey.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Near Threatened

Listed as endangered in Canada and the inland United States, threatened along coast. Declines resulted from direct and unintentional harassment by people, dogs, and vehicles, destruction of beach habitat for development, and changes in water level regulation.

Credits

  • Haig, S. M. 1992. Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus). In The Birds of North America, No.2 (A. Poole, P.Stettenheim, and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia:The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, DC: The American Ornithologists' Union.

Range Map Help

Piping Plover Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings