Black-Bellied Plover – Profile | Facts | Flight | Plumage | Traits


The Black-bellied Plover is Washington’s largest plover. The breeding adult male is strong black from chin to stomach. The upperparts are white or white mottled with black.

Black-bellied Plover profile

The feminine is more brownish than black. Juveniles and birds in non-breeding plumage are speckled gray-brown above with a gray-brown breast and white stomach.

A white rump is seen in all plumages. The breast and sides are closely streaked within the juvenile. In-flight, black axillaries distinction with white under-wing coverts.

Black-bellied Plover: This medium-sized shorebird has black upperparts vividly marked with a white spot on every feather.

It has a black face, throat and stomach, and white brow and crown that extends over the attention, down the back and sides of the neck. Vent and wing stripe saw in flight.

Strong direct flight with highly effective speedy wing beats. Feeds on marine worms and bugs. Sexes are related.


The gray plover or black-bellied plover, scientific name Pluvialis squatarola is a medium-sized plover breeding in Arctic areas. It is a long-distance migrant, with a virtually worldwide coastal distribution when not breeding.

The genus name is Latin and means regarding rain, from pluvia, “rain”. It was believed that golden plovers flocked when rain was imminent. The species name squatarola is a Latinised model of Sgatarola, a Venetian name for some sort of plover.

In breeding plumage, Black-bellied Plovers are a stunning mixture of snow white and jet black, accented by checkerboard wings.

They are supreme aerialists, each agile and swift, and are readily recognized at a great distance by black axillaries (“armpit” feathers) in all plumages—and by their distinctive, mournful-sounding call.

The largest and heaviest of North American plovers, Black-bellied can be the hardiest, breeding farther north than different species, on the very top of the world. It can be a really widespread shorebird, occurring on six continents.


Breeding males are a stunning mixture of black and white: checkered upper wings, a black face and stomach, a white crown, nape, and undertail, and darkish legs and bill.

Adult females in breeding plumage are related however with much less distinction. Nonbreeding adults are pale grey above and grayish or whitish under.

Juveniles are however more scaly-looking on the back. All plumages present black “armpits” in flight.

Black-bellied Plover Description

They are 27–30 cm (11–12 in) long with a wingspan of 71–83 cm (28–33 in) and a weight of 190–280 g (6.7–9.9 oz) (as much as 345 g (12.2 oz) in preparation for migration).

In spring and summertime (late April or May to August), the adults are noticed black and white on the back and wings.

The face and neck of the bird are black with a white border; they have a black breast and stomach and a white rump. The tail is white with black barring. The bill and legs are black.

They moult to winter plumage in mid-August to early September and retain this till April; this being a reasonably plain gray above, with a grey-speckled breast and white stomach.

The juvenile and first-winter plumages, held by younger birds from fledging till about one year old, are much like the adult winter plumage however with the back feathers blacker with creamy white edging.

In all plumages, the internal flanks and axillary feathers on the base of the underwing are black, a function that readily distinguishes it from the opposite three Pluvialis species in flight.

On the ground, it can be informed from the opposite Pluvialis species by its bigger (24–34 mm, 0.94–1.34 in), heavier bill.


They forage for meals on seashores and tidal flats, normally by sight. The meals consist of small molluscs, polychaete worms, crustaceans, and bugs.

It is much less gregarious than the opposite Pluvialis species, not forming dense feeding flocks, as an alternative feeding broadly dispersed over seashores, with birds effectively spaced aside. They will nonetheless type dense flocks on high tide roosts.


Forages by strolling quickly, then immediately stopping to look for prey, which it gleans or pulls from the ground. Breeding males carry out a sleek “butterfly” display flight. Migrants and wintering birds relaxation and forage in flocks.


Their breeding habitat is Arctic islands and coastal areas throughout the northern coasts of Alaska, Canada, and Russia. They nest on the ground in a dry open tundra with good visibility; the nest is a shallow gravel scrape.

Four eggs (typically solely three) are laid in early June, with an incubation interval of 26–27 days; the chicks fledge when 35–45 days old.

Nests in each moist and dry tundra. Winters in coastal lagoons and estuaries. Migrants cease alongside coastlines and in harvested agricultural areas, sod farms, and muddy edges of lakes and rivers.

black bellied plover black plover black bellied plover call


A chunky, large-headed shorebird with a brief, thick bill (heavier than payments of golden-plovers). It has long, pointed wings and reasonably long legs.

Black-bellied Plover Migration

They migrate to winter in coastal areas all through the world. In the New World, they winter from southwest British Columbia and Massachusetts south to Argentina and Chile, in the western Old World from Ireland and southwestern Norway south all through coastal Africa to South Africa, and within the eastern Old World, from southern Japan south all through coastal southern Asia and Australia, with a number of reaching New Zealand. Most of the migrants to Australia are feminine.

It makes regular continuous transcontinental flights over Asia, Europe, and North America, however, is usually a rare vagrant on the ground within the inside of continents, solely landing often if pressured down by extreme climate, or to feed on the coast-like shores of very massive lakes such because the Great Lakes, the place it’s a frequent passage migrant.

Young birds don’t breed till two years old; they usually stay on the wintering grounds till their second summer.

Black-bellied Plover Facts

Plovers as a gaggle spend their lives on the ground, operating alongside seashores and flats seeking meals.

But in tropical areas of the Caribbean and northern South America, wintering Black-bellied Plovers might shock you by roosting collectively in mangrove timber or on posts.

Wary and fast to present alarm calls, the Black-bellied Plover acts as a sentinel for teams of foraging shorebirds worldwide.

Its quickness to sound the alarm allowed it to withstand market hunters through the heyday of shorebird looking, and the species remained frequent whereas different species crashed.

The Black-bellied Plover is the one American plover that has a hind toe on its foot—though the toe is so small it’s exhausting to see within the area.

The oldest recorded Black-bellied Plover was at the least 12 years, 8 months old when it was present in California.

Where to search out Black-bellied Plover

Black-bellied Plovers are vocal and conspicuous, comparatively simply discovered on seashores and coastal wetlands of all coasts of North America.

Look for them on tidal mudflats anytime besides high tide. In some areas, additionally, they feed alongside sandy seashores or inland on each moist and dry sod farms or agricultural fields the place earthworms and larval beetles, flies, and different bugs abound.


The Black-bellied Plover, additionally generally referred to as the “Grey Plover” exterior of North America, has a big breeding range of practically 4,000,000 sq. kilometers.

It breeds in tundra habitats in Alaska and northern Canada, and northern Russia, and winters in coastal habitats in southern British Columbia, and the United States south to Chile and Argentina, and in Europe, Africa, southern and eastern Asia, and Australasia.

This species forages for worms, mollusks, crustaceans, and bugs on seashores and dirt flats, and has estimated world inhabitants of 692,000. The Black-bellied Plover has a present conservation ranking of Least Concern.

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