Skip Navigation

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

previous  | next

Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus


enlarge +

Semipalmated Plover, breeding
credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

All Images

1 article:

Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Family: Charadriidae, Plovers view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has mainly sandy brown upperparts and white underparts, with a continuous black breast band and collar. Note the distinctive black patch through the eye and on the forecrown, defining the white patch in front of eye and very narrow and short white supercilium. Legs are orange-yellow and bill is orange with a dark tip. In winter, black elements of plumage on head are mainly brown, especially on forecrown; bill is mainly dark, but with dull orange at base of lower mandible. ADULT FEMALE Similar to male, but black elements of plumage on head are brown. JUVENILE Similar to winter adult, but breast band is small and often incomplete.

Dimensions Length: 6-8" (15-20 cm)

Habitat Common and widespread in breeding season, nesting beside lakes and rivers across Arctic North America and present there mainly May-Aug. Fall migrants can appear in any suitable open, damp habitats, but are obvious on Atlantic coast. Occurrence in winter is extremely wide-ranging: found on coastal shores and estuaries from Atlantic and Gulf coasts to southern South America.

Observation Tips Easy to find on coasts in winter, or in spring if you visit the Arctic.

Range Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes, Texas, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Florida, Western Canada, Alaska, Southeast, Eastern Canada, California, Northwest, Plains

Voice Utters a soft tchu-eep call.

Discussion Small, dumpy wader that is seldom seen far from water. Runs at speed (as if powered by clockwork) and then stands still for a few seconds before picking a food item from ground. Webbing between outer toes is hard to discern, except in very close views. Sometimes forms flocks on migration. Sexes are separable with care.