Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Western Snowy Plover Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus


enlarge +

Western Snowy Plover
© T. A. Blake/U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Family: Charadriidae, Plovers view all from this family

Description 6 1/2" (16.5 cm). Light gray-brown upperparts (including the rump), a conspicuous dark patch on either side of the breast, a white eyebrow extending back from the white forehead, dark ear coverts, a long, thin, black bill, and slate-colored legs. Breeding birds have black bar across forehead, and ear coverts and breast patches darken to black.

Endangered Status The Western Snowy Plover, a subspecies of the Snowy Plover, is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as threatened in California, Oregon, and Washington, within 50 miles of the Pacific Ocean. This shorebird nests in coastal sand dunes, and it is speculated that recreational use of these habitats has contributed to the reduction of these plovers. Steps are being taken to reduce the impact of humans on the plovers. These include educating the public and warning them not to approach the off-limits nesting areas, providing access ways to beaches that detour the plover colonies, and restricting vehicle access on beaches during the nesting season.

Habitat Sandy coastal beaches and shore of salt ponds and alkaline lakes.

Range Pacific coast from Washington to Baja California.