Killdeer
 Photo

General description.

The Killdeer is the largest of the 'banded plovers'. Brown above, white below with relatively long legs and tail, of which the upper coverts flash rust when in flight. A running, stopping, bobbing gait makes the Killdeer easy to identify.

Juvenile appearance.

Only one neck band.

Breeding habits.

The widespread Killdeer breeds from Alaska east to Newfoundland and southward. It returns north to winter in British Columbia, Utah, the Ohio Valley and Massachusetts. Yet some migrate further south to South America.

Calls or song.

The Killdeer has earned its species name, "vociferus", by loudly and persistently calling its own name, "kill-dee, kill-dee". It also emits other alarm calls of several trills, "tul-ul-ul-ul-ul".

Population and distribution.

Technically a shore bird, the Killdeer can also be found away from the water in meadows, pastures, golf courses and among other human environments.

Nesting habits.

The Killdeer will sometimes, perversely, lay her nest right in the middle of a driveway or some other gravel bed. She digs a shallow depression and lines it with grass to incubate 4 pale buff eggs, spotted black and brown. If they feel the nest is in danger, the parents will fake injury, dragging one wing, as if broken, to lure predators away.
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