Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
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Piping Plover

Piping Plover
Charadrius melodus
Sandpiper-like Birds | Family: Plovers, Charadriidae

An estimated 16% of the species' North American breeding range lies within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

The color of dry sand, the Piping Plover is difficult to see on the beach. The eggs and downy chicks also blend with the sand. The Piping Plover arrives much earlier in spring and departs for the South much earlier in fall than does the Semipalmated Plover.

Description

6-7" (15-18 cm). A pale plover with sandy upperparts, narrow, incomplete black breast band, stubby bill with an orange base, and yellowish legs. Young birds are similar, with black bill and broken gray breast band. Snowy Plover has thin black bill and black legs. Semipalmated Plover has much darker upperparts.

Voice

A clear, whistled peep-lo.

Nesting

4 buff-white eggs, evenly marked with small dark spots, in a depression in the sand lined with pebbles and bits of shells.

Habitat

Bare, dry, sandy areas, both inland and on the coast.

Range/Migration

Breeds along Atlantic Coast from Quebec and Newfoundland south to North Carolina, and locally from Alberta east to Minnesota and Great Lakes. Winters on Atlantic and Gulf coasts, north regularly to Carolinas.