Common ringed plover

Common ringed plover
Charadrius hiaticula

Photo by Laurent Demongin (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
common ringed plover (en); borrelho-grande-de-coleira (pt); pluvier grand-gravelot (fr); chorlitejo grande (es); sandregenpfeifer (de)

Order Charadriiformes
Family Charadriidae

This species breeds in northern Russia, Scandinavia, Greenland and Iceland, and also in the British Island and along the Baltic and Atlantic coasts of Europe down to western France. Most populations migrate south to winter along the coasts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East and southern Asia as far east as south-eastern India.

These birds are 18-20 cm long and have a wingspan of 48-57 cm. They weigh 40-80 g.

The common ringed plover breeds in mostly on sand or shingle beaches along Arctic coast or around coastal tundra pools or lakes, but also on shores and sandbars of inland rivers, lakes, gravel pits or reservoirs and agricultural grasslands. They winter in muddy, sandy or pebbly coastal areas, including estuaries, tidal mudflats, sandflats and exposed coral reefs, as well as along rivers and lakes, lagoons, saltmarshes, grasslands, agricultural areas, flooded fields, gravel pits, reservoirs, sewage works and saltpans.

They feed on small crustaceans, gastropods, bivalves, polychaete worms, insects and millipedes.

Common ringed plovers breed in April-August. They nest on a shallow scrape in the ground lined with pebbles and vegetation, where the female lays 4 light brown eggs with dark spots. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 21-27 days and the chicks leave the nest a few hours after hatching. They are then guided by both parents until fledging which takes place 22-24 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 360.000-1.300.000 individuals. The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends, the main threats being habitat loss in wintering and staging areas through drainage and development, as well as pollution.

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