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Wilson's plover

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Title: Wilson's plover  
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Subject: Charadrius, Alexander Wilson, GIS and environmental governance, Greater sand plover, Shorebirds
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Wilson's plover

Wilson's plover
Breeding male (pair of below)
Breeding female (pair of above)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Charadriidae
Genus: Charadrius
Species: C. wilsonia
Binomial name
Charadrius wilsonia
(Ord, 1814)

The Wilson's plover (Charadrius wilsonia) is a small plover.

Wilson's plover is a coastal wader which breeds on both coasts of the Americas from the equator northwards. Its range extends north to include much of the U.S. eastern seaboard, and the Pacific coast of Mexico on the west.

It is a partial migrant. Birds leave the United States, except Florida, to winter south in Brazil. Some Mexican birds leave in winter for Peru. Furthermore, a small resident population is known from Brazil, it being named as a new subspecies, brasiliensis, in 2008.[2] In 2012 it was established that this is a junior synonym, and the correct name for the subspecies is crassirostris.[3] This also means that one of the subspecies of the greater sand plover had to be renamed.[4]

This strictly coastal plover nests on a bare scrape on sandy beaches or sandbars.

This is a small plover at 17–20 cm. The adult's upper parts are mainly dark grey, with a short white wing bar and white tail sides. The underparts are white except for a breast band, and the legs are pink, brighter when breeding. The dark bill is large and heavy for a plover of this size. The call is a high weak whistle.

The breeding male has a black breast band, lores and forecrown, and a rufous mask. Females and non-breeding males have a similar plumage, but the black of the breeding male is replaced by brown or rufous. Non-breeders have a greyer tint to the head and breast band.

Example alt ext
A plover on Sanibel Island, Florida.

Immature birds are similar to the female, but the breast band is often incomplete.

Wilson's plovers forage for food on beaches, usually by sight, moving slowly across the beach. They have a liking for crabs, but will also eat insects and marine worms.

This bird was named after the Scottish-American ornithologist Alexander Wilson.


  1. ^  
  2. ^ Grantsau, R. & Lima, P. C. (2008). (Aves, Charadriiformes) para o Brasil"Charadrius wilsonia"Uma nova subespécie de (PDF). Atualidades Ornitológicas 142: 4–5. 
  3. ^ Carlos, C. J., & J-F. Voisin (2012). "Charadrius wilsonia brasiliensis Grantsau & Lima, 2008, is a junior synonym of Charadrius crassirostris Spix, 1825". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 131 (1): 165–170. 
  4. ^ Carlos, C. J., S. Roselaar, & J-F. Voisin (2012). "A replacement name for Charadrius leschenaultii crassirostris (Severtzov, 1873), a subspecies of Greater Sand Plover". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 132 (1): 63–65. 

Further reading

  • Shorebirds by Hayman, Marchant and Prater ISBN 0-395-60237-8
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