COMMON RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius hiaticula) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Common Ringed Plover adult has a brown cap, brown back and wings. Breast and under parts are white. Tail is brown with a white edge. Throat is white with a thick black band. Forehead is black with a white band in the middle. There is a faint whitish stripe behind the eyes, which are black. Bill is yellow with a black tip, legs are yellow. Juveniles have duller colors, with a black bill and greyish legs. Sexes are similar. Bird length is about 18 cm (7 inches). There are three subspecies.
NAME: ‘Plover’ comes from Latin ‘pluvialis’, rain. However there’s no justification for the association of this bird with rain (Choate). Latin genus name ‘Charadrius’ is from ancient Greek and refers to a bird found in ravines or river valleys. Latin species name ‘hiaticula’ literally would mean ‘cleft’ and ‘dweller’. (Also simply called Ringed Plover.)
HABITAT: Sandy or rocky beaches, fields.
DIET: Insects, small crustaceans.
NESTING: Nest is a scrape on the ground. Around three or four light beige eggs are laid, incubated by both parents. Chicks able to feed themselves but cared for by parents until they can fledge. This plover will fake an injury (broken wing) to lure a potential predator away from the nest.
DISTRIBUTION: This plover breeds in the Arctic, along the coasts of Greenland, Scandinavia, Russia, and the UK. For the winter they can be found in Africa (except in the Sahara), and around the Arabic Peninsula. Some individuals have been reported on Hawaii. (see note below on Bird Vagrancy).
Distribution Map:
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings accidental so far.
Distribution Map:
CONSERVATION: Population widespread, not at risk.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Semipalmated Plover, Killdeer
REFERENCES: (Norwegian Polar Institute) (Nature Gate Finland) (British Trust for Ornithology)

Common Ringed Plover, July 2008, photo by Myosotis Scorpioides
Common Ringed Plover
by Myosotis Scorpioides
Common Ringed Plover juvenile – Farmoor Reservoir, UK, - Sept. 2014, photo by Charles J. Sharp
Common Ringed Plover juvenile
Farmoor Reservoir, UK, Charles J. Sharp
Common Ringer Plover – July 2011 – photo by Andreas Trepte
Common Ringer Plover, by Andreas Trepte