Semipalmated Plover

Charadrius semipalmatus




Lapwings and Plovers (Charadriidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Buff to olive brown, marked with black or brown.

Number of Eggs:

3 - 4

Incubation Days:

23 - 25

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with shell fragments, pebbles, and plants.





Semipalmated Plover: Small plover with gray-brown upperparts and white underparts; black bands over forehead and bill to just behind eye; white patch between bands; faint white stripe seen along eye; black collar; orange bill with black tip. Wings have white stripes. Tail is brown with white edges; orange legs and feet. Sexes are similar. Female has a brown tinge to the black markings. Winter adult is paler with distinct white eyebrows. Juvenile resembles winter adult; upperparts have buff fringes; smaller breast band; yellow legs and feet.

Range and Habitat

Semipalmated Plover: Breeds on sandy or mossy tundra from Alaska to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Spends winters on mudflats, salt marshes, and lakeshores along the West Coast from Washington south to coastal Mexico, along the southern Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the West Indies. Preferred habitats include tidal flats and fields.

Breeding and Nesting

Semipalmated Plover: Three to four buff to olive brown eggs marked with brown or black are laid in a ground depression. In sandy areas, nest is lined with shell fragments and pebbles; on tundra, it is lined with plants. Both parents incubate eggs for 23 to 25 days. Young fly at 23 to 31 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Semipalmated Plover: Their diet includes Benthic invertebrates in fresh and salt water, larvae, polychaete worms, amphipods, isopods, decapods, bivalves and gastropods, copepods and the larvae of long-legged flies and beach flies. They forage on mudflats or in shallow water, running and scanning for food in short bursts. They search for prey visually.


Semipalmated Plover: Call is a whistled, up-slurred "chu-weet"; song is a series of the same.

Similar Species

Semipalmated Plover: Snowy and Piping Plovers have paler upperparts, white lores, and less complete breast bands.

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