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Piping Plover


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.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
6.7–7.1 in
17–18 cm
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.
  • The oldest recorded Piping Plover was at least 13 years, 8 months old, when it was spotted and ID'd by it's band in 2015 in Texas. It had been banded in Saskatchewan in 2002.



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



Insects and small aquatic invertebrates.


Nest Placement



Ground Forager

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


status via IUCN

Near Threatened

Piping Plover are on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action. This species is listed as endangered in Canada and the inland United States, threatened along coast. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. A 2012 study found that numbers of Piping Plover have steadily increased since 1986, but numbers are still low. In that study, it was estimated that the Atlantic Coast breeding population was 3,600 birds, the Great Lakes population was 108, and there was a maximum of 4,700 birds in the Great Plains population. Decline in Piping Plover resulted from direct and unintentional harassment by people, dogs, and vehicles, destruction of beach habitat for development, and changes in water level regulation. Despite the increases in some populations, recovery goals have not been achieved.


Range Map Help

Piping Plover Range Map
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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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