Wilson's Plover

Charadrius wilsonia




Lapwings and Plovers (Charadriidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Buff marked wtih brown and black

Number of Eggs:

2 - 3

Incubation Days:

23 - 25

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with shell fragments and grass.





Wilson's Plover: Medium-sized plover with gray-brown upperparts and cap. Underparts are white except for black upper breast band. Head has white forehead patch edged in black and thick, white eyebrows joining above bill. Bill is black and thick. Wings are dark with thin, white stripes visible in flight. Tail is white with faint brown central stripe and dark tip. Female and winter adult are duller, have brown breast band.

Range and Habitat

Wilson's Plover: Breeds in the U.S. along the Atlantic coast from Maryland to Florida, and along the Gulf Coast from Florida to south Texas. Spends winters along both coasts of Florida and is uncommon along the coasts of Louisiana and Texas. Most winter along the coasts of Mexico and south to Brazil. Resident throughout Central America and the Caribbean to northern South America. Preferred habitats include open sand or shell beaches and tidal mudflats.

Breeding and Nesting

Wilson's Plover: Two or three brown and black marked, buff eggs are laid in a depression in the sand lined with broken shells, grass, and debris, usually built from several to as much as 100 feet back from the water; always well above normal high tide. Both parents incubate eggs for 23 to 25 days. Young are precocial and can fly at 21 days old.

Foraging and Feeding

Wilson's Plover: Eats mostly crustaceans, such as fiddler crabs, crayfish, and shrimp, but also feeds on mollusks, marine worms, and insects. Usually forages on beaches or around ponds left by high tides.


Wilson's Plover: Call is a sharp, whistled "whit." Utters grating or rasping noises in flight display or when agitated "jrrrrrid jrrrrrid."

Similar Species

Wilson's Plover: Heavy black bill and flesh-colored legs distinguish this species from other small plovers, including Piping Plover, Semipalmated Plover, and Snowy Plover. Killdeer has two breast bands.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The upper front part of a bird.
The area on top of the head of the bird.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X