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Species Guide
A photo of a Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)
Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover

Charadrius semipalmatus

The Semipalmated Plover, Charadrius semipalmatus, is a diminutive shorebird, its name derived from the Latin for "half-webbed," referring to its partially webbed feet. This species exhibits a grey-brown back and wings, contrasted by a white underbelly. A single black band adorns its white breast, and it sports a brown cap, a white forehead, and a distinctive black mask around the eyes. The bill is a striking orange with a black tip.

Identification Tips

Adult Semipalmated Plovers can be recognized by their compact bodies, weighing between 22–63 grams and measuring 14–20 centimeters in length, with a wingspan of 35–56 centimeters. The combination of their brown cap, white forehead, black eye mask, and the single black neckband are key features for identification. Their short orange and black bill is also a distinguishing characteristic.


The breeding grounds of the Semipalmated Plover are the open terrains of beaches or flats in northern Canada and Alaska, where they prefer areas with sparse or no vegetation.


These birds are migratory, spending winters along the southern United States coasts, the Caribbean, and throughout much of South America. They are exceedingly rare visitors to western Europe.


Semipalmated Plovers forage by sight, primarily on beaches, tidal flats, and fields. They exhibit a "broken-wing" display to distract predators from their ground nests, a behavior shared with their relative, the Killdeer. This species is smaller than the Killdeer and is distinguished by having only one breast band.

Diet and Feeding

An opportunistic feeder, the Semipalmated Plover's diet includes insects such as fly larvae and grasshoppers, spiders, crustaceans like isopods and copepods, worms including polychaetes, and small molluscs such as bivalves and gastropods. They will also consume berries and seeds when available.

Conservation status

The Semipalmated Plover is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, indicating that it is not at immediate risk of population decline.

Semipalmated Plover Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Semipalmated Plovers on Birda


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A photo of a Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) , male

Kentish Plover

Charadrius alexandrinus
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