Snowy Plover

Charadrius nivosus




Lapwings and Plovers (Charadriidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale buff spotted and marked with black or gray

Number of Eggs:

2 - 3

Incubation Days:

26 - 31

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

On ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with shell fragments and grass.


Some migrate



Snowy Plover: Small plover with pale brown upperparts and white underparts. Dark patches are evident on either side of upper breast (partial breast band), behind eye, and on white forehead. Bill, legs, and feet are black. Wings have white stripes visible in flight. Tail is dark with thick, white edges. Legs and feet are dark gray; bill is black. Sexes are similar. Juvenile is duller.

Range and Habitat

Snowy Plover: This species is a resident along the Pacific Coast from Washington to Baja California and along the Gulf Coast from Florida to the Yucatan Peninsula. It is also a resident in much of the West Indies. Some birds breed locally in the southwestern states and migrate to coastal Mexico. Its preferred habitats include sandy coastal beaches and shallow alkaline lakes.

Breeding and Nesting

Snowy Plover: Two or three pale buff eggs with black or gray marks and spots are laid in a shallow ground depression lined with shell fragments or grass. Nest is built by the male. Both male and female incubate eggs for 24 to 32 days. Young fly at 26 to 31 days; raises one or two broods per year.

Foraging and Feeding

Snowy Plover: Feeds on small crustaceans and soft-bodied invertebrates. Forages in wet sand and surf-cast kelp, in dry, sandy areas above the high tide, on saltpans, on spoil sites, and along the edges of salt marshes, salt ponds, and lagoons; sometimes probes in sand or gleans from vegetation.


Snowy Plover: Calls include a low "krut" and a soft, whistled "ku-wheet."

Similar Species

Snowy Plover: Piping Plover has yellow legs, red eyering, complete breastband (in breeding plumage), and orange-based bill.


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

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