Mountain Plover Life History


Habitat GrasslandsBreeds on open plains at moderate elevations. Winters in short-grass plains and fields, plowed fields, and sandy deserts.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:1-4 eggs
Condition at Hatching:Downy and active, able to leave nest as soon as down dries.
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Behavior Ground ForagerBack to top


Conservation Red Watch ListMountain Plover populations declined by over 3% per year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a cumulative decline of 80%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. A 2012 study estimates a breeding population of 20,000. These birds only live in North America, principally in the west and central areas of the U.S. during the summer, migrating south to Mexico and the southwest U.S. Mountain Plover is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists species most in danger of extinction without significant conservation action. A proposal to list the species as "endangered" was rejected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2003, stating that species was more common than was believed. However, Mountain Plover is listed a Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.Back to top


Andres, B. A., P. A. Smith, R. I. G. Morrison, C. L. Gratto-Trevor, S. C. Brown and C. A. Friis. (2012a). Population estimates of North American shorebirds, 2012. Wader Study Group Bulletin 119 (3):178-194.

Knopf, Fritz L. and M. B. Wunder. (2006). Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2015.2. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2015.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, Jr. Ziolkowski, D. J. and W. A. Link. The North American Breeding Bird Survey, results and analysis 1966-2013 (Version 1.30.15). USGS Patuxtent Wildlife Research Center (2014b). Available from

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

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