- ORDER: Charadriiformes
- FAMILY: Charadriidae
The dapper Snowy Plover scurries across sandy habitats as inconspicuously as a puff of sea foam blown by the wind. These pale brown shorebirds are highlighted with a black or brown partial collar and a short black bill. They are hardy survivors that forage for invertebrates on ocean beaches and in desolate salt flats and alkaline lakes. Snowy Plovers make nearly invisible nests on beaches, where they are easily disturbed by humans, dogs, and beach vehicles.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Look for Snowy Plovers year-round along the U.S. Pacific Coast or coastal South Texas, during winter on the Gulf Coast, or on inland breeding sites during summer. These tiny, sand-colored shorebirds easily disappear against their wide-open habitats, but they are restless foragers, so look carefully for their stop-and-go foraging pattern. They don't tend to chase waves the way Sanderlings do; look for them foraging a little higher up the beach.
- Chorlitejo nivoso (Spanish)
- Pluvier neigeux (French)
- Cool Facts
- Young Snowy Plovers leave the nest within 3 hours of hatching and are able to forage unassisted almost immediately (though the parents still brood them periodically to keep them warm). If a predator approaches, the parent gives a signal and the chicks flatten themselves against the ground.
- Snowy Plovers often raise 2 broods of chicks a year. Females occasionally desert their mates when the chicks hatch to begin a new nest with a different male.
- The oldest recorded Snowy Plover was 15 years and 9 months old when it was spotted in Oregon and identified by its band.