Semipalmated Plover

General description.

The Semipalmated Plover, so called for the small webs between the toes of its slightly lobed feet, which help it cross mudflats, is larger than the Least Sandpiper and smaller than the Killdeer. Both breeding and non-breeding plumage is the same dark gray above and buff below, with less streaking on the breast than other plovers. The yellow-orange bill of the Semipalmated is stouter than the Least Sandpiper and "droops" slightly at its black tip.

Flight pattern.

The Semipalmated Plover is fast and powerful on the wing.

Breeding habits.

The Semipalmated Plover breeds on the Alaskan Coast southeast to British Columbia and Nova Scotia. Its "butterfly" dance attracts a mate to his territorial claim.

Population and distribution.

Semipalmated Plovers are the most numerous "shore birds" in North America. During migration, they travel and feed by the thousands through the eastern and central states on the way to spend the colder months from South Carolina to Texas and on to South America.

Nesting habits.

The male plover arrives at the breeding ground first and scrapes a nest in the sand, which he lines with any nearby material. The female lays 4 buff eggs with brown markings.
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