Killdeer

Charadrius vociferus

Order

CHARADRIIFORMES

Family

Lapwings and Plovers (Charadriidae)

Code 4

KILL

Code 6

CHAVOC

ITIS

Egg Color:

Buff with brown marks.



Number of Eggs:

3 - 5



Incubation Days:

24 - 28



Egg Incubator:

Both sexes



Nest Location:

On ground.



Nest Material:

Unlined or lined with pebbles, grass, and twigs.



Migration:

Migratory



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General

Killdeer: Large slender and lanky banded plover with brown upperparts, white underparts and two distinct black bands cross the upper breast. White stripes on long wings are visible in flight. Long, pointed tail and rump show rust-brown in flight. Face is brown and marked with black and white patches. Sexes are similar. Female usually has a browner mask and breast bands. Winter adult has rufous and buff-brown fringes on upperparts. Juvenile is like winter adult but has single breast band and lacks rust-brown rump.

Range and Habitat

Killdeer: Breeds from southern Alaska east across Canada to Newfoundland and southward. Spends winters north to British Columbia, Utah, the Ohio Valley, and Massachusetts; also found in South America. Preferred habitats include open areas such as plowed fields, golf courses, and short-grass prairies.

Breeding and Nesting

Killdeer: These birds are monogamous. Breeding pairs form in the breeding grounds in the spring. Three to five buff eggs with brown markings are laid in a shallow ground depression lined with grass in gravelly areas, natural fields, golf courses, lawns, beaches, rooftops or even parking lots. Incubation takes 24 to 28 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Killdeer: Their diet includes terrestrial invertebrates, especially earthworms, grasshoppers, beetles and snails; infrequently they also eat small vertebrates and seeds. They forage in the open, with sparse or no vegetative cover, or in short mowed grass, on mudflats and in shallow water. They drink readily from standing or running water, especially after eating.

Vocalization

Killdeer: Emits a loud cry "kill-dee" or "kill-deear" or "kill-deeah-dee-dee"." Also makes a long, trilled "trrrrr" during display or when young are threatened.

Similar Species

Killdeer: Semipalmated Plover is smaller and has a single breast band. Wilson's Plover is smaller, has a single breast band, and plain brown back, rump, and tail.

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UnderpartsX

Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
BreastX
The upper front part of a bird.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
RumpX
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X