World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000263327
Reproduction Date:

Title: Charadriidae  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of birds of Western Australia, Charadrius, Black-headed lapwing, Inland dotterel, Long-billed plover
Collection: Bird Families, Charadriidae
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The bird family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings, about 64 to 66 species in all.


  • Description 1
  • Distribution and habitat 2
  • Behaviour and ecology 3
    • Breeding 3.1
  • References 4
  • External links 5


They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings, but most species of lapwing may have more rounded wings. Their bill are usually straight (except for the wrybill) and short, their toes are short, hind toe could be reduced or absent, depending on species. Most Charadriidae also have relatively short tails, the killdeer is the exception. In most genera, the sexes are similar, very little sexual dimorphism occurs between sexes. They range in size from the collared plover, at 26 grams and 14 cm (5.5 in), to the masked lapwing, at 368 grams (0.811 pounds) and 35 cm (14 in).

Distribution and habitat

They are distributed through open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions: the inland dotterel, for example, prefers stony ground in the deserts of central and western Australia.[1]

Behaviour and ecology

They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipe do. Foods eaten include aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates such as insects, worms, molluscs and crustaceans depending on habitat, and are usually obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups. They also feed on plant material.


While breeding, they defend their territories with highly visible aerial displays.[1] Charadriidae are protective over their eggs and offspring. The parents protect their young by uttering an alarm call, performing distraction display and they may even attack the predator or intruder. Both parents take care of their offspring. The chicks are precocial; their parents do not feed them. Most species are monogamous, while less are polygamous.

Most members of the family are known as plovers, lapwings or dotterels. These were rather vague terms which were not applied with any great consistency in the past. In general, larger species have often been called lapwings, smaller species plovers or dotterels and there are in fact two clear taxonomic sub-groups: most lapwings belong to the subfamily Vanellinae, most plovers and dotterels to Charadriinae.

The trend in recent years has been to rationalise the common names of the Charadriidae. For example, the large and very common Australian bird traditionally known as the ‘spur-winged plover’, is now the masked lapwing; the former ‘sociable plover’ is now the sociable lapwing.


  1. ^ a b Harrison, Colin J.O. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph, ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. p. 105.  

External links

  • Charadriidae videos on the Internet Bird Collection
  • Charadriidae sounds on
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.