Charadriidae – Plovers, Lapwings & Dotterels
The Charadriidae bird family includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings, about 66 species in all.
They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings, but most species of lapwing may have more rounded wings. Their bill are usually straight (except for the Wrybill) and short, their toes are short, their hind toe could be reduced or absent, depending on species. Most Charadriidae also have relatively short tails, the Killdeer is the exception. In most genera, very little sexual dimorphism occurs between sexes. They range in size from the Collared Plover, at 26 grams and 14cm, to the Masked Lapwing, at 368 grams and 35cm. They are distributed through open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions: the inland dotterel, for example, prefers stony ground in the deserts of central and western Australia. They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipe do. Foods eaten include aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates such as insects, worms, molluscs and crustaceans depending on habitat, and are usually obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups. They also feed on plant material.
The vast majority of Charadriidae have a socially monogamous mating system. Some, such as Northern Lapwings, are polygynyous, others, such as Mountain Plovers have a rapid multiple-clutch system that can be accompanied by sequential polyandry. In Eurasian Dotterels, females compete for males and males provide all parental care. While breeding, they defend their territories with highly visible aerial displays.
They lay two to four eggs into the nest, which is usually a shallow scrape in the open ground, and incubate the clutch for 21 to 30 days. In species where both parents incubate the eggs, females and males vary in the way they share their incubation duties, both within and between species. In some pairs, parents exchange on the nest in the morning and in the evening so that their incubation rhythm follows a 24-hour day, in others females and males exchange up to 20 times a day.
They are protective over their eggs and offspring. The parents protect their young by uttering an alarm call, performing distraction display and they may even attack the predator or intruder. The chicks are precocial; their parents do not feed them.
There are according to the IOC, 66 extant dotterels, plovers, lapwings etc. all members of the Charadriidae family; they are:
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Long-toed Lapwing Vanellus crassirostris
Blacksmith Lapwing Vanellus armatus
Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus
River Lapwing Vanellus duvaucelii
Black-headed Lapwing Vanellus tectus
Yellow-wattled Lapwing Vanellus malabaricus
White-crowned Lapwing Vanellus albiceps
Senegal Lapwing Vanellus lugubris
Black-winged Lapwing Vanellus melanopterus
Crowned Lapwing Vanellus coronatus
African Wattled Lapwing Vanellus senegallus
Spot-breasted Lapwing Vanellus melanocephalus
Brown-chested Lapwing Vanellus superciliosus
Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus
Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
Banded Lapwing Vanellus tricolor
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius
White-tailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurus
Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
Andean Lapwing Vanellus resplendens
Red-kneed Dotterel Erythrogonys cinctus
Inland Dotterel Peltohyas australis
Wrybill Anarhynchus frontalis
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
New Zealand Plover Charadrius obscurus
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
Long-billed Plover Charadrius placidus
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Wilson’s Plover Charadrius wilsonia
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
Piping Plover Charadrius melodus
Madagascan Plover Charadrius thoracicus
Kittlitz’s Plover Charadrius pecuarius
St. Helena Plover Charadrius sanctaehelenae
Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris
Forbes’s Plover Charadrius forbesi
White-fronted Plover Charadrius marginatus
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
Snowy Plover Charadrius nivosus
Javan Plover Charadrius javanicus
Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii
Chestnut-banded Plover Charadrius pallidus
Collared Plover Charadrius collaris
Puna Plover Charadrius alticola
Two-banded Plover Charadrius falklandicus
Double-banded Plover Charadrius bicinctus
Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus
Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii
Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus
Oriental Plover Charadrius veredus
Eurasian Dotterel Charadrius morinellus
Rufous-chested Plover Charadrius modestus
Mountain Plover Charadrius montanus
Hooded Dotterel Thinornis cucullatus
Shore Dotterel Thinornis novaeseelandiae
Black-fronted Dotterel Elseyornis melanops
Tawny-throated Dotterel Oreopholus ruficollis
Diademed Sandpiper-Plover Phegornis mitchellii
Pied Plover Hoploxypterus cayanus
American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominicaSpecies AccountImages, description, full species account…
American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominicaCornell Species AccountA large shorebird of pastures, open ground, and mudflats, the American Golden-Plover makes one of the longest migratory journeys of any shorebird.
American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominicaHBW Species Account
American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominicaSpecies AccountSound archive and distribution map.
American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominicaIUCN Species Status
Collared Plover Charadrius collarisHBW Species AccountTaxonomy: Charadrius collaris Vieillot, 1818, Paraguay. Shorter-winged population occurring from Mexico to N Brazil is sometimes separated as a subspecies, gracilis. Monotypic.
Collared Plover Charadrius collarisSpecies AccountSound archive and distribution map.
Collared Plover Charadrius collarisSpecies AccountThe collared plover (Charadrius collaris) is a small shorebird in the plover family, Charadriidae. It lives along coasts and riverbanks of the tropical to temperate Americas, from central Mexico south to Chile and Argentina.
Collared Plover Charadrius collarisCornell Species AccountCollared Plover is a common tropical and subtropical shorebird distributed broadly from Mexico south into the northern half of South America.
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricariaIUCN Species Status
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricariaSpecies AccountSound archive and distribution map.
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricariaSpecies AccountThe European golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria), also known as the Eurasian golden plover or just the golden plover within Europe, is a largish plover.
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricariaRSPB Species AccountA medium-sized plover with a distinctive gold and black summer plumage. In winter the black in replaced by buff and white.
European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricariaHBW Species AccountTaxonomy: Charadrius apricarius Linnaeus, 1758, Lapland. Two subspecies normally recognized.
Killdeer Charadrius vociferusHBW Species Account
Killdeer Charadrius vociferusIUCN Species Status
Killdeer Charadrius vociferusSpecies AccountSound archive and distribution map.
Killdeer Charadrius vociferusSpecies AccountThe killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) is a medium-sized plover. The genus name Charadrius is a Late Latin word for a yellowish bird mentioned in the fourth-century Vulgate. It derives from Ancient Greek kharadrios a bird found in ravines and river valleys (kharadra, "ravine").
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubiusSpecies AccountThe little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius) is a small plover. The genus name Charadrius is a Late Latin word for a yellowish bird mentioned in the fourth-century Vulgate.
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubiusHBW Species AccountTaxonomy: Charadrius dubius Scopoli, 1786, Luzon, Philippines. Three subspecies recognized.
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubiusIUCN Species Status
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubiusSpecies AccountSound archive and distribution map.
Oriental Plover Charadrius veredusArticlePhoto Plus discussion of this East Asian plover.
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulvaHBW Species AccountTaxonomy: Charadrius fulvus J. F. Gmelin, 1789, Tahiti. Monotypic.
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulvaIUCN Species Status
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulvaSpecies AccountSound archive and distribution map.
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulvaSpecies AccountThe Pacific golden plover (Pluvialis fulva) is a medium-sized plover. The genus name is Latin and means relating to rain, from pluvia, "rain". It was believed that golden plovers flocked when rain was imminent. The species name fulva is Latin and refers to a tawny colour
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulvaCornell Species AccountA beautiful shorebird, the Pacific Golden-Plover breeds in western Alaska and Siberia and winters on islands across the Pacific Ocean, through southeast Asia, to northeastern Africa
Piping Plover Charadrius melodusSpecies AccountSound archive and distribution map.
Piping Plover Charadrius melodusSpecies AccountThe piping plover (Charadrius melodus) is a small sand-colored, sparrow-sized shorebird that nests and feeds along coastal sand and gravel beaches in North America. The adult has yellow-orange legs, a black band across the forehead from eye to eye, and a black stripe running along the breast line.
Piping Plover Charadrius melodusBirdLife Species AccountBirdLife species profile
Piping Plover Charadrius melodusIUCN Species Status
Piping Plover Charadrius melodusHBW Species AccountTaxonomy: Charadrius melodus Ord, 1824, Great Egg Harbor, New Jersey, USA. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.
Wilson's Plover Charadrius wilsoniaHBW Species AccountCharadrius wilsonia Ord, 1814, shore of Cape May, New Jersey, USA. Four subspecies recognized.
Wilson's Plover Charadrius wilsoniaIUCN Species Status
Wilson's Plover Charadrius wilsoniaSpecies AccountSound archive and distribution map.
Wilson's Plover Charadrius wilsoniaSpecies AccountThe Wilson's plover (Charadrius wilsonia) is a small plover.
Number of bird species: 66
Geographical Variation in Waders| By Meinte Engelmoer & Cees S Roselaar | Kluwer Academic Publishers | 1998 | Hardback | 331 pages, figures, tabs, maps | ISBN: 9780792350200 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Shorebirds| (An Identification Guide to the Waders of the World) | by Peter Hayman, John Marchant & Tony Prater | Christopher Helm | 1991 | Hardback | 416 pages, 88 colour photos, 214 maps, line drawings | ISBN: 9780713635096 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Shorebirds| By Des Thimpson & Ingvar Byrkjedal | Colin Baxter Photography |2001 | paperback | 72 pages, Colour photos | ISBN: 9781841070759 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Shorebirds of North America - The Photographic guide| (The photographic Guide | by Dennis Paulson | Christopher Helm | 2005 | Paperback | 361 pages, Colour photos | ISBN: 9780713673777 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Tundra Plovers| (The Eurasian, Pacific and American Golden Plovers and Grey Plover | by Ingvar Byrkjedal & Des Thompson | T & AD Poyser Ltd (A & C Black) | 2002 | Hardback | 422 pages, 40 photos, illustrations, figures, tables, maps | ISBN: 9780856611094 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Waders of Europe, Asia & North America| By Stephen Message & Don Taylor | Christopher Helm 2005 | Paperback | 224 pages, 80 plates with colour illustrations | ISBN: 9780713652901 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Australasia Wader Study GroupWebsiteThe Australasian Wader Studies Group was formed in 1981 as a special interest group of Birds Australia. The group is an non-government organisation dedicated to studying waders (otherwise known as shorebirds) throughout the East-Asian Australasian Flyway. There are about 330 members, of which 90 are from Asia
International Wader Study GroupWebsiteThe International Wader Study Group (IWSG) is an association of amateurs and professionals from all parts of the world interested in Charadrii (waders or shorebirds). Membership of the WSG is currently over 650 worldwide. Members can be found in over 50 countries around the world, including all European countries and the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australasia. The interests of the group have diversified from its original focus from ringing and migration-related studies to embrace all aspects of wader biology.
Snowy Plover ProjectWebsiteThe snowy plover is a small awkward-looking shore bird that lives on the leading edge of North America, eating small creatures from the seafoam
Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve NetworkWebsiteWHSRN is a voluntary, non-regulatory coalition of over 200 private and public organizations in seven countries working together to study and conserve shorebirds throughout their habitats. Participation in WHSRN provides the site with international recognition as a major host for shorebirds. OUR MISSION: The conservation, restoration, and management of critical shorebird habitats throughout the Americas
Western Atlantic Shorebird AssociationWebsiteThe first research project to be part of WASA is the International Banding Project which is being led by Professor Allan Baker, Canada and Patricia M. Gonz
The New Shorebirds Handbook ProjectBlogThis is a blog of The New Shorebirds Handbook Project which aims to bring together the current knowledge on shorebird science, conservation and a little bit more. By following the blog, readers could insight into the progress and important milestones of the project and the recent news on the world of waders and a bit more of us, the authors….
Wader QuestWebsiteIt is vital to to take action to prevent the Spoon-billed Sandpiper from becoming extinct. Wader Quest is an attempt to raise money and awareness to the plight of, not just these tiny wanderers but of wader species worldwide…