Killdeer

ID Info
Silhouette PloversPlovers

Killdeer

Charadrius vociferus
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Charadriidae
Basic Description

A shorebird you can see without going to the beach, Killdeer are graceful plovers common to lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, and parking lots. These tawny birds run across the ground in spurts, stopping with a jolt every so often to check their progress, or to see if they’ve startled up any insect prey. Their voice, a far-carrying, excited kill-deer, is a common sound even after dark, often given in flight as the bird circles overhead on slender wings.

More ID Info
image of range map for KilldeerRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

Find This Bird

Killdeer are surprisingly unobtrusive even on green lawns, despite their warm tawny coloration. Look carefully over lawns, short-mown fields, and even parking lots, and listen for the far-carrying kill-deer. (When you hear this call, the bird may be in flight. Look for it circling you, flying stiffly on long, pointed wings. It may resemble an American Kestrel, at least until it lands on the ground and begins walking.) Though they're often found on dry land, you should also look for them on the edges of freshwater ponds and muddy lagoons.

Other Names
  • Chorlitejo Culirrojo (Spanish)
  • Pluvier kildir (French)

Backyard Tips

Doesn’t visit feeders, but if your backyard or neighborhood contains expansive, cultivated lawns or grazed fields then you could find Killdeer foraging on your property.

  • Cool Facts