The Black-bellied Plover is a startling bird with many identifying traits besides its black face and breast. First, it is the the largest plover, so easily spotted among its brethen on the beach. Its back is dark gray with alternating flecks of dark and light. In winter this bird turns to pale gray, but in all plumages, it has a white rump, and its wings have a bold white stripe and black patch underneath. These plovers have adapted their large eyes to frequent foraging at night.
The immature bird's underparts are flecked with yellow, and its breast and belly are finely streaked.
When startled, the Black-bellied flies out over the ocean, circles and lands again behind the observer.
The Black-belled Plover breeds widely in the high Arctic of North America.
Calls or song.
Males and femals have a variety of calls in their repertoire. One is a whistle, during flight, that sounds like, "koodiloo, koodleeeoo". Another is a melodious, "pljujutipljujut".
Population and distribution.
This particular plover generally travels alone or in small groups. But in winter it roosts in dense flocks, a familiar sight along the beaches of the Pacific and Atlantic Coast from Massachusetts southward. It also inhabits mudflats and coastal marshes, lakeshores and even plowed fields.
The Black-bellied Plover lays 3 or 4 that are buff in color, spotted with brown. She chooses a shallow depresseion lined with lichen, moss and grass.