Black-bellied Plover

Pluvialis squatarola




Lapwings and Plovers (Charadriidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Gray, green, white or brown with dark brown spots.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 5

Incubation Days:

26 - 27

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Tundra moss lined with dried grasses and moss.





Black-bellied Plover: Medium-size, heavy body, thick neck, short, thick bill, short legs, slightly rounded tail.  Black upperparts marked with a white spot on each feather. Face, throat and belly are black. Black armpit and white rump, vent and wing stripe are visible on all plumage in flight. Underparts on female are less black. Winter adult lacks black underparts, duller gray above, off white below. Female winter plumage is more subtle. Juvenile is like winter adult, upperparts darker with pale yellow spots; faint streaking on flanks and breast.

Range and Habitat

Black-bellied Plover: Breeds in western and northern Alaska and Arctic Canada. Spends winters mainly along the coasts from British Columbia and Massachusetts southward to coastal Mexico and the West Indies. Breeds on tundra; spends winters on beaches, mudflats, marshes, lakeshores, and plowed fields.

Breeding and Nesting

Black-bellied Plover: They nest on dry tundra, often in a raised area with good visibility. Three to five dark brown-spotted gray, green, brown, or white eggs are laid in a shallow depression lined with moss, lichens and grass. Incubation ranges from 26 to 27 days and is carried out by both parents. The young may forage within 12 hours, but they stay in the nest longer than other shorebirds.

Foraging and Feeding

Black-bellied Plover: These plovers eat insects at their breeding grounds and invertebrates at their wintering grounds, primarily polychaetes, especially slender worms, bivalves and crustaceans. They forage primarily by sight. Because of their visual feeding style, foraging success and thus energy acquisition is reduced during adverse weather; hence plovers are more successful in the tropics.


Black-bellied Plover: Song is a clear, whistled "pee-oh-wee." During display flights on breeding grounds, produces a repeated "kiuuu-di-duu" whistle. Alarm call is "klee-ee."

Similar Species

Black-bellied Plover: American and Pacific Golden-Plovers are smaller, lack white rump, have black axillaries, more yellow on upperparts and black extends from head to vent.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Birds do not have two separate cavities for excrement and reproduction like humans do. In birds, there is one single entrance/exit that suits both functions called the vent, cloaca or anus.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X