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Snowy Plover

Charadrius nivosus ORDER: CHARADRIIFORMES FAMILY: CHARADRIIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A small plover of beaches and barren ground, the Snowy Plover can be found across North and South America, Eurasia, and Africa. In North America it is restricted to the Gulf and Pacific coasts of the United States, and scattered inland localities from Saskatchewan to California and Texas.

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Appearance

Shorebirds
Shorebirds
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Small shorebird.
  • Legs moderately long.
  • Neck short.
  • Back pale tan.
  • Underparts white.
  • Dark patches on sides of neck reaching around onto top of chest.
  • Legs dark.

Immature Description

Similar to nonbreeding adult, but with scaly pale edging on back feathers.

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Similar Species

  • Piping Plover has a short, sometimes orange-based bill, a more rounded, "cuter" profile, yellow legs, a thicker chestband, lacks a dark cheek during breeding, and shows a white band across top of tail in flight.
  • Killdeer is larger and has two distinct chest bands.
  • Wilson's Plover is larger, darker on the back, has a thick, complete chestband, and a large, thick bill.
  • Semipalmated Plover has a darker back, yellowish legs, a short and thicker bill that is yellow-based during breeding, and a more rounded, "cuter" profile.