Semipalmated Plover – Profile | Facts | Flight | Call | Traits

Semipalmated Plover

The Semipalmated Plover is a small plover with a brief bill and yellow-orange legs. It has brown upperparts with white under and a single, darkish breast band. The breast band, sides of the head, and forecrown are black in breeding adults and brown in non-breeding adults and juveniles.

Semipalmated Plover profile

The cheerful whistle of a Semipalmated Plover coursing over a mudflat or choosing by a plowed area is commonly the first signal that these small shorebirds are present.

They appear like miniature Killdeer, however with just one black band throughout the breast.

Their brown backs mix particularly nicely with darkish backgrounds, however, their run-and-stop foraging type helps to choose them out.

These alert foragers have a tendency to stay to mudflats, sandbars, and fields moderately than steep or rocky seashores.


The semipalmated plover, scientific name Charadrius semipalmatus is a small plover. The genus name Charadrius is a Late Latin phrase for a yellowish bird talked about within the fourth-century Vulgate.

It derives from Ancient Greek kharadrios a bird present in ravines and river valleys (kharadra, “ravine”). The particular semipalmatus is Latin and comes from the semi, “half” and palma, “palm”. Like the English name, this refers to its solely partly webbed feet.

The commonest of the small plovers on migration by most areas. On its breeding grounds within the north, it avoids the tundra habitat chosen by most shorebirds, nesting as an alternative on gravel bars alongside rivers or ponds.

In such an environment, its seemingly daring pattern really helps to make the plover inconspicuous, by breaking apart its define towards the various background. The name “semipalmated” refers to partial webbing between the bird’s toes.

Semipalmated Plover Distribution

Their breeding habitat is open ground on seashores or flats throughout northern Canada and Alaska. They nest on the ground in an open space with little or no plant growth.

They are migratory and winter in coastal areas of the southern United States, the Caribbean, and far of South America.

They are extraordinarily uncommon vagrants to western Europe and have been present in Tierra del Fuego and the Isles of Scilly.

Their true standing could also be obscured by the issue in figuring out them from the very related ringed plover of Eurasia, of which it was previously thought-about a subspecies.


This species weighs 22–63 g (0.78–2.22 oz) and measures 14–20 cm (5.5–7.9 in) in size and 35–56 cm (14–22 in) throughout the wings.

Adults have a grey-brown back and wings, a white stomach, and a white breast with one black neckband. They have a brown cap, a white brow, black masks across the eyes, and a brief orange and black bill.


Nests in the arctic tundra. Forages in mudflats, agricultural fields, river margins, sewage ponds, and lakeshores. Roosts in marshes or on seashores.

Shores, tide flats. Favors very open habitats on migration, together with broad mudflats, sandy seashores, lakeshores, swimming pools in the salt marsh; generally in flooded fields and even plowed fields with different shorebirds.

Tends to keep away from flats overgrown with an excessive amount of marsh vegetation. Breeds within the north, totally on open flats of sand or gravel close to water.


A small, compact shorebird with a brief, stubby bill, a round head, and enormous eyes. The body is plump, with a brief neck and medium-length legs.


Adults are brown above, white under, with one black band on the breast. Black across the eye, with white marks above the eye and bill and a white band above the black collar.

The brief orange bill has a black tip. Juveniles have brown as an alternative of black on the face, and a brown breast band that’s generally incomplete. Legs are yellow-orange.

Semipalmated Plover Behavior

Semipalmated Plovers are visible hunters. They run a number of steps, paused, after which lunge at prey on the ground, grabbing smaller prey or pulling at worms a lot as robins do.

Semipalmated plovers forage for meals on seashores, tidal flats, and fields, normally by sight. They eat bugs, crustaceans, and worms. This bird resembles the killdeer, however, is way smaller and has just one band.

Since the semipalmated plover nests on the ground, it makes use of a “broken-wing” display to lure intruders away from the nest, in a display just like the associated killdeer.


Insects, crustaceans, worms. Diet varies with season and site. In breeding season and through migration inland, might feed totally on bugs, together with flies and their larvae, additionally earthworms.

On the coast, eats many marine worms, crustaceans, small mollusks.

Semipalmated Plover

Feeding Behavior

Typically they run a number of steps after which pause, then run once more, pecking on the ground at any time when they spot one thing edible.

Will generally maintain one foot ahead and shuffle it quickly over the floor of sand or mud, as if to startle small creatures into transferring.


4, not often 3. Olive-buff to olive-brown, blotched with black and brown. Incubation is by each sex, 23-25 days. Young: Downy younger go away nest quickly after hatching.

Both parents have a tendency younger, however younger discover all their very own meals. Age at first flight about 23-31 days.


Downy younger go away nest quickly after hatching. Both parents have a tendency younger, however younger discover all their very own meals. Age at first flight about 23-31 days.

Semipalmated Plover Nesting

In breeding season, male shows over territory by flying in vast circles with gradual, exaggerated wingbeats, calling repeatedly.

On the ground, the male might display by crouching with tail spread, wings open, and feathers fluffed up, whereas he offers calls with an exciting sound.

Nest site is on the ground, amid sparse plant growth, or on naked open gravel or sand, generally positioned near massive rock or different landmark.

The nest is a shallow scrape in the ground, generally lined with small leaves, different particles.


Given their distant Arctic breeding range, it is stunning that Semipalmated Plovers generally nest in busy, built-up areas.

In Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, pairs have nested on roofs and even inside a big open constructing. They additionally nest at occasions on lively gravel runways.

Semipalmated Plovers can swim brief distances throughout small water channels throughout foraging. Chicks can even swim brief distances to observe parents to small islets on shallow lakes.

The oldest recorded Semipalmated Plover was no less than 9 years, 2 months old when it was recaptured and re-released throughout banding operations in Massachusetts in 1982. It had been banned in the same state in 1974.

Semipalmated Plover Migration

Migrates principally late in spring and early in fall, with peak southbound flights in August. Has a really in-depth winter range, alongside coasts from the United States to southern South America.

Where to seek out Semipalmated Plover

Look for this arctic-breeding bird throughout the migration, when it could present up virtually anyplace throughout North America—in habitats as varied as coastal mudflats, shallow ponds, and even muddy farm fields.

They usually forage with different shorebird species, so maintain an eye fixed out for his or her stubby payments and stop-and-go feeding type.

Birders in North America often discover the very related however a lot rarer Common Ringed Plover; pay attention for its poo-eet call that lacks the Semipalmated’s rising high quality on the end.


Seriously depleted by unrestricted capturing in the late 19th century, however, has recovered nicely, presently widespread and customary.

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