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Semipalmated Plover

Silhouette PloversPlovers
Semipalmated PloverCharadrius semipalmatus
  • ORDER: Charadriiformes
  • FAMILY: Charadriidae

Basic Description

The cheerful whistle of a Semipalmated Plover coursing over a mudflat or picking through a plowed field is often the first sign that these small shorebirds are present. They look like miniature Killdeer, but with only one black band across the breast. Their brown backs blend especially well with dark backgrounds, but their run-and-stop foraging style helps to pick them out. These alert foragers tend to stick to mudflats, sandbars, and fields rather than steep or rocky beaches.

More ID Info
image of range map for Semipalmated Plover
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Look for this arctic-breeding bird during migration, when it can show up almost anywhere across North America—in habitats as varied as coastal mudflats, shallow ponds, and even muddy farm fields. They often forage with other shorebird species, so keep an eye out for their stubby bills and stop-and-go feeding style. Birders in North America occasionally find the very similar but much rarer Common Ringed Plover; listen for its poo-eet call that lacks the Semipalmated's rising quality at the end.

Other Names

  • Chorlitejo Semipalmeado (Spanish)
  • Pluvier semipalmé (French)
  • Cool Facts