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Wilson's Plover Charadrius wilsonia


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Wilson's Plover, male
credit: Pascal Aleixandre/CCSA

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Family: Charadriidae, Plovers view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has mostly brown upperparts; note the white collar, throat, forehead, and supercilium, that contrast with the brownish crown (black at front) and ear coverts. Has a black chest band, but underparts are otherwise white. In flight, note the blackish flight feathers and narrow white bar on upper wings. Legs are dull pinkish and bill is dark. ADULT FEMALE Similar, but black elements of plumage are pale brown. JUVENILE Recalls adult female, but brown feathers have paler margins and breast band is often incomplete.

Dimensions Length: 7-8" (18-20 cm)

Habitat Widespread on coasts of Mexico, Caribbean, and northern South America. Summer breeding range extends to U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coasts: nests on sandy beaches and adjacent dunes; scarce and declining, badly affected by disturbance from humans, their dogs and cats, and habitat destruction. Migrates south in fall with some birds wintering in Florida.

Observation Tips Look for it in winter, in Florida.

Range Mid-Atlantic, New England, Florida, Southeast, Texas

Voice Call is a sharp, agitated whit-whit.

Discussion Stocky, coastal plover with a large bill and long legs. Feeds in typical plover manner by running a few steps, pausing, and tilting forward to pick up invertebrate prey.