- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Charadriidae
In breeding plumage, Black-bellied Plovers are a dazzling mix of snow white and jet black, accented by checkerboard wings. They are supreme aerialists, both agile and swift, and are readily identified at great distance by black axillaries (“armpit” feathers) in all plumages—and by their distinctive, mournful-sounding call. The largest and heaviest of North American plovers, Black-bellied is also the hardiest, breeding farther north than other species, at the very top of the world. It is also a very widespread shorebird, occurring on six continents.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Black-bellied Plovers are vocal and conspicuous, relatively easily found on beaches and coastal wetlands of all coasts of North America. Look for them on tidal mudflats anytime except high tide. In some areas, they also feed along sandy beaches or inland on both wet and dry sod farms or agricultural fields where earthworms and larval beetles, flies, and other insects abound.
- Chorlito gris (Spanish)
- Pluvier argenté (French)
- Cool Facts
- Plovers as a group spend their lives on the ground, running along beaches and flats in search of food. But in tropical areas of the Caribbean and northern South America, wintering Black-bellied Plovers may surprise you by roosting together in mangrove trees or on posts.
- Wary and quick to give alarm calls, the Black-bellied Plover acts as a sentinel for groups of foraging shorebirds worldwide. Its quickness to sound the alarm allowed it to resist market hunters during the heyday of shorebird hunting, and the species remained common while other species crashed.
- The Black-bellied Plover is the only American plover that has a hind toe on its foot—although the toe is so small it’s hard to see in the field.
- The oldest recorded Black-bellied Plover was at least 12 years, 8 months old when it was found in California.