- 5.9–6.7 in
- 13.4 in
- 1.2–2 oz
- Kentish Plover (British English)
- Gravelot à collier interrompu (French)
- Chorlitejo patinegro (Spanish)
- The Snowy Plover frequently raises two broods a year, and sometimes three in places where the breeding season is long. The female deserts her mate and brood about the time the chicks hatch and initiates a new breeding attempt with a different male.
- Young Snowy Plovers leave their nest within three hours of hatching. They flatten themselves on the ground when a parent signals the approach of people or potential predators. They walk, run, and swim well and forage unassisted by parents, but require periodic brooding for many days after hatching.
- The oldest recorded Snowy Plover was at least 15 years, 2 months old, when it was spotted in the wild in California and identified by its band.
Barren to sparsely vegetated sand beaches, dry salt flats in lagoons, dredge spoils deposited on beach or dune habitat, levees and flats at salt-evaporation ponds, river bars, along alkaline or saline lakes, reservoirs, and ponds.
Terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates.
- Clutch Size
- 2–6 eggs
- Egg Description
- Buffy background, lightly to moderately covered with small spots and scrawls.
- Condition at Hatching
- Downy and active, able to leave nest as soon as down dries.
A natural or scraped depression on dry ground usually lined with pebbles, shell fragments, fish bones, mud chips, vegetation fragments, or invertebrate skeletons.
Pauses, looks, runs, and then seizes prey from surface of beach or tide flat. Some probing in sand.
Snowy Plover populations are declining. A 2012 study estimates a total population of 2,900 on the Pacific coast, and 25,900 in the interior and eastern coasts of North America. Snowy Plover are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List, and the Pacific coast population is listed as threatened in the U.S. and Mexico, and is 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. The species is also listed as endangered or threatened in several states. Breeding populations have likely decreased on Gulf Coast since late 1800s owing to habitat alteration and increased recreational use of beaches.
- Page, G. W., J. S. Warriner, J. C. Warriner, and P. W. C. Paton. 1995. Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus). In The Birds of North America, No. 154 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
- Andres, B.A., P.A. Smith, R.I.G. Morrison, C.L. Gratto-Trevor, S.C. Brown, and C.A. Friis. 2012. Population estimates of North American Shorebirds, 2012. Wader Study Group Bulletin 119:178–194. Available from the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan website.
- BirdLife International. 2012. Charadrius nivosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22705159A39394552
- North American Bird Conservation Initiative, U.S. Committee. 2014. State of the Birds 2014 Report. U.S. Department of Interior, Washington, DC.
- USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2015. Longevity records of North American Birds.
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, ECOS-Environmental Conservation Online System, Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus ssp. nivosus).