The Bird Book/Plovers



Plovers are stouter built birds than those of the previous family, have larger head, shorter necks and but three toes, the bill also is much harder and shorter.

[269-] LAPWING. Fanellus vanellus.

An abundant European species accidentally occurring on the Atlantic coast. It may readily be recognized by its long black crest, black chin and throat, and white under parts. It breeds throughout temperate Europe, laying its eggs in hollows on the ground. The eggs have a dark grayish buff ground and are spotted with black. Size 1.85x1.30.


[269-1-] DOTTEREL. Eudromias morinellus.

A European bird supposed to have been accidentally taken on the Atlantic coast.

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER. Squatarola squatarola.

Range. Northern Hemisphere, breeding in the Arctic regions and wintering from the Gulf States to northern South America.

This is a remarkably handsome species when in the summer dress. The upper parts are largely white with black spots and bars on the back, wings and tail; the throat, sides of head, breast and fore under parts, black. In winter, brownish-black, somewhat mottled, above; below, dull white. Young similar to winter adults, but the back is spotted with yellowish-white. While these handsome plover migrate to some extent, and sometimes in large flocks, through the interior of the United States, they are chiefly and most abundantly found on the coast. This species has a very small hind toe. It is a very familiar bird to sportsmen

and gunners, to whom it is generally known by the names of "Bull-head," or "Beetle-head Plover." They are very numerous in the fall, during which season the underparts are entirely white. The eggs are either laid upon the bare ground or upon a slight lining of grass-es of dead leaves. They are three or four in number, brownish or greenish buff in color and boldly marked with black. Size 2.00 x 1.40. Data. Point Barrow, Alaska, June, 1900. Nest a small hollow on side of hillock, lined with dry grass.


Grenish buff.



[272.] EUROPEAN GOLDEN PLOVER. Charadrius apricarius.

A European bird, similar to the next, casually found in Greenland.

It is a very abundant bird throughout Europe, breeding in the northern parts. Its habits, nests and eggs are the same as those of the American bird.

272. GOLDEN PLOVER. dominions.

Charadrius dominions

Range. Whole of North America, breeding in the Arctic regions and wintering south to Patagonia.

Black-bellied Plover. Golden Plover.


Greenish buff.

This handsome bird is about the same size as the Black-bellied Plover (10.5 inches long). No hind toe. Back and tail mottled with black and yellow; below, more or less entirely black to the tail. Young and winter adults, more or less spotted with yellow and blackish-brown above, and grayish-white below, with indistinct streaks on the breast. Often confused with the last species in this plumage, but is smaller, bill smaller and more slender, and the axillars, or feathers nearest the body, under the wings, are gray while those of the Black-bellied Plover are black. This species is now regarded as rare on the North Atlantic coast during migrations, while in the interior it is more abundant than the last species. They do not seem to be as suspicious as the Black-bellies, and a flock will often allow a close approach, even when they see you. They nest abundantly along the coast and islands of the Arctic Ocean. The four eggs are very similar to those of the preceding, but smaller. Size 1.90 x 1.30. Data. Peel River, Arctic America, June 1, 1898. Nest of grasses and leaves on the ground in the moss.

272a. PACIFIC GOLDEN PLOVER. Charadrius dominions fulvus.

Range. An Asiatic species, breeding in northern Asia and on the islands and coast of Asia. Very like the preceding, but more golden color on the back and wings. Nesting and eggs the same.



A. R. Spaid.


273. KILLDEER. Oxyechus vociferus.

Range. Temperate North America from the southern parts of Canada southward. Next to the Spotted Sandpiper, this bird is the most common of the shore birds in the United States. It is rarely seen in New England, but is common south of there and in the interior of the country to Canada.

They are very noisy birds, continually uttering their "kil-deer, kil-deer" from which they take

Grayish buff.

their name. They nest anywhere on the ground, generally near water, placing their nests in fields, cornfields or meadows. The eggs are drab or greenish buff and profusely spotted with black. Size 1.50x1.10. Data. Refugio county, Texas, May 11, 1899. 4 eggs in a depression on the ground, lined with a few grasses.

SEMIPALMATED. Mgialitis semipalmata.

Range. North America, breeding in the interior of Canada and wintering south from the Gulf States.

Kildeer. Semi-palmated Plover.

Small web between ..the bases of the two outer toes. Single broad,black band across the breast; black line from base of bill to eye. They are very abundant on our seacoast in Fall, both in flocks composed entirely of their own kind, and also with Least and Semipalmated Sandpipers. They usually keep on the inner side of sandbars or muddy flats bordering marshes, rather than on the open ocean beach. It is also found in smaller flocks, about ponds and marshes in the interior of the country. They are usually unsuspicious and will allow a close approach, or if you are still, will run by within a very few feet. Nest on the ground; eggs buffy, sparsely specked with black, 1.30x.90; June.




275. RING PLOVER. JEgialitis hiaticula.

Range. A European bird that breeds abundantly in Greenland. It nests in great numbers on the banks of streams and in fields, laying its eggs in hollows on the ground, generally without any lining. Their three or four eggs are practically not distinguishable from those of the Semipalmated Plover, but


larger; siae, 1.40x1.00. The bird, too, is similar, but the toes are not palmated, and the black breast band is wider.

[276.] LITTLE RINGED PLOVER. JEgialitis dubia.

An Old World species, accidentally occurring on the Pacific coast. Like the last species, but smaller. The eggs, too, are smaller; size 1.20


277. PIPING PLOVER. JEgialitis meloda.

Range. Eastern North America, chiefly along the Atlantic coast, breeding from the Carolinas north to Newfoundland.

A handsome little bird, with a black crescent

i on each side of neck, a small black patch on top

of the head, and without any black on the lores or ear coverts. It is the lightest colored of any of the eastern Plovers. Length, 7 inches. Young, similar, but the black replaced by grayish, as is

the case with the last species. This species, apparently, never could be classed

as abundant and of late years, it is becoming rather rare along our Atlantic

coast; this is probably more due to the building of

summer resorts and homes along their former breeding

grounds than to hunters. They are rather more shy

than the last species, but will usually attempt to escape by running along the beach or by hiding, rather

than by flight. Owing to their light colors it is very

difficult to see them at any distance. They lay their

eggs upon the sandy beaches in slight, and generally

unlined, hollows. The eggs have a pale clay colored

ground and are sparsely specked with small black

dots. Size 1.25 X 1.00. Clay Color,

Ring Plover. Snowy Plover.



278. SNOWY PLOVER. JEgialitis nivosa.

Range. Breeds along the Pacific coast of the United States, and from Texas to Manitoba in the interior. Winters on the California coast and south to Chili.

Snowy Plovers are very much like the Piping, but are smaller (length 6.5 inches), have a longer and more slender bill, and have a small black patch on the side of head. It is the palest colored of the Plovers. Large numbers of them nest along the Pacific coast and in Texas; north of Texas, in the interior, they are locally distributed. The eggs are pale clay color, marked with small scratchy dots of black. Size 1.20 x .90. Data. Newport Beach, California, May 1, 1897. Nest a hollow in the sand, a short distance above high water; lined with broken shell. Collector, Evan Davis.

Pale buff.

[279-] MONGOLIAN PLOVER. JEgialitis mongola.

An inhabitant of the Old World, awarded a place in our avifauna because of its accidental occurrence at Alaska.



C. A. Reed.


Wilson's Plover Mountain Plover.


Octhodromus rvilsonius.

Range. An abundant breeding species on the Gulf coast, coast of Lower California, and on the Atlantic coast north to Virginia, and casually farther.

A common Plover, which may be distinguished from others of the genus by its comparatively large heavy black bill, and the single broad black band across the breast, and not extending around the back of the neck. They nest on pebbly "shingle" or in the marsh, back of the beaches. Their eggs are an olive gray color and are spotted and scratched with blackish Olive gray brown, with some

fainter markings of gray. Size 1.40x1.05. Data. Corpus Christi, Texas, May 10, 1899. 4 eggs laid on the ground among drifted grass on a salt marsh near town. Collector, Frank B. Armstrong.

281. MOUNTAIN PLOVER. Podasocys montanus

Range. Plains and prairies of western North America, breeding from the central portions north to Manitoba, and wintering in California and southward.

A very peculiar species, inhabiting even the driest portions of the western prairies. It is 9 inches in length, and has a plumage of a pale buffy tone. It seems to be less aquatic than any other American Plover and is rarely found in the vicinity of bpdies of water. It nests on the ground anywhere on the prairie, laying its eggs in a slight hollow. The eggs are brownish gray in color and are spotted and blotched with blackish brown. Data. Morgan county, Colorado, May 7, 1902. Nest a slight hollow on the ground, near a large cactus bed and close to a water hole. No lining to nest. Collector, Glenn S. White.