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Wilson's Plover


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Wilsons Plover Photo

A medium-sized plover of ocean beaches, the Wilson's Plover has a single chest band and a large, thick bill. The large bill helps it catch and eat larger prey items than other plovers on the beach.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
6.3–7.9 in
16–20 cm
1.9–2.5 oz
55–70 g
Other Names
  • Pluvier de Wilson (French)
  • Chorlo pico grueso (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Wilson's Plover is named for early ornithologist Alexander Wilson, who collected the type specimen in May 1813 at Cape May, NJ, where this species is (and was) only a rare visitor.
  • The oldest recorded Wilson's Plover was a male, and at least 6 years old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in South Carolina.



Ocean beaches, lagoons, and salt flats.



Crustaceans, especially fiddler crabs, worms, insects.


Nest Placement





status via IUCN

Least Concern

The North American population of Wilson's Plover 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. A 2012 assessment estimated a U.S. population of 8,600 bids, with an additional 6,000 individuals thought to breed in the Caribbean and along the coast of eastern Mexico. Their range has been contracting southward over the last several decades. Wilson's Plover is listed as threatened or endangered in some states.


  • Corbat, C. A., and P. W. Bergstrom. 2000. Wilson's Plover (Charadrius wilsonia). In The Birds of North America, No. 516 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Range Map Help

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