Birda Logo
Features
Birda+
About
Species Guide
Challenges
Shop
loading...
A photo of a Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)
Killdeer

Killdeer

Charadrius vociferus

The Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus, is a sizable member of the plover family, easily recognized by its distinctive plumage and vocalizations. Adults range from 20 to 28 cm in length, with a wingspan of 59 to 63 cm, and weigh between 72 and 121 grams. They exhibit a short, thick, dark bill, flesh-colored legs, and a red eye ring. The upperparts are predominantly brown with rufous fringes, while the head is adorned with white and black patches. Notably, two black bands cross the breast, a unique feature among North American plovers.

Identification Tips

When observing a Killdeer, look for the two distinct black bands on the breast, which set it apart from other plovers. The rump is a vivid red, and the tail is primarily brown with a black subterminal band and white terminal band. In flight, a white wing stripe is visible. The female may have slightly browner markings than the male.

Habitat

The Killdeer is versatile in its choice of habitat. While it is a shorebird, it does not strictly nest near water. Its breeding grounds are typically open fields with short vegetation, but it has been known to adapt to human environments, such as rooftops.

Distribution

The Killdeer's range is extensive, spanning from southeastern Alaska and southern Canada through to Mexico. It is a year-round resident in the southern half of its breeding range, with some populations migrating to Central America, the West Indies, and northern South America for the winter.

Behaviour

The Killdeer is known for its elaborate breeding displays, including loud calls and the "broken-wing" act to distract predators from its nest. It is a territorial bird, with both sexes participating in nest defense. The young are precocial and leave the nest shortly after hatching, guided by their parents to a safe feeding territory.

Song & Calls

This bird is named for its piercing "kill-deer" call. It is vocal both day and night, with a repertoire that includes nasal notes and rapid trills when alarmed.

Breeding

Killdeer pairs form upon arrival at breeding grounds. The nest is a simple ground scrape, often lined with white materials like pebbles or shell fragments. Egg-laying occurs from mid-March to August, with clutches of four to six buff to beige eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs for 22 to 28 days, and the young fledge about 31 days after hatching.

Similar Species

The Killdeer is distinguished from similar species by its double breast bands and red rump. It is the only North American plover with this combination of features.

Diet and Feeding

The diet consists mainly of insects, with the addition of other invertebrates and seeds. The Killdeer forages in fields, often near cattle, which help maintain short vegetation. It uses visual cues to locate prey and may forage at night during the full moon due to increased insect activity and reduced predation risk.

Conservation status

The Killdeer is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. Despite a declining population, it is not considered vulnerable due to its large range and overall population numbers. It is protected under the American Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Canadian Migratory Birds Convention Act.

Killdeer Sounds

‌
‌
Recorded by: © 
App logo
Birda is a birdwatching app and community aimed at curious people who want to deepen their connection with nature.

Killdeer on Birda

Photos
Sightings

More Plovers

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

Kentish Plover

Charadrius alexandrinus
Birda Logo

Your birdwatching journey like never before

Connect with nature in minutes
Take a walk, look out of the window and log the birds that you see. Feel good about those little connections to nature.
Discover the joy of birding
Find new birding spots, see more birds, share and celebrate with a like-minded community of nature lovers.
Play your part in saving nature
Logging your birding sightings and sessions turns into positive action for our planet. Every sighting counts.

Birda Blog

What Our Birders Say
Alice J
Awesome Birding Community
I absolutely love the community aspect of this app. The app is so user friendly and has fun interactive challenges to get you out birding. I’ve tried others but since I’ve started using Birda I’ve not gone back!
Dan R
Great app for bird fanatics
Great app for bird fanatics - very user friendly and a perfect place to share sightings.
Bryan C
Clean and easy to use
Really enjoying this app, it's clean and easy to use. I love the ease of being able to add those one-off birds without starting a whole checklist. I also like the social aspect, like the parts of my Facebook I like, without the ads and junk, just birds. Can't wait to see it become more populated.
Emma L
App got me interested in birding!
Super friendly community <3 This app got me interested in birding! It teaches me cool stuff and its super friendly, and fun :) The species guide is really developing my knowledge, and i love seeing cool new birds from round the world!
EandB17
Terrific App for Birders
Downloaded Birda around the time my interest in birding was sparked, and it has been a terrific app to help me (1) share my experience, (2) document my sightings, and (3) learn more about birds in general. That said, I also believe Birda is a fantastic app for birders of all experience levels. Great community!
Jane N
A great app
Enjoying it immensely and finding it useful too. Recording the different birds and counting them is showing me how the present climate is affecting them all. I've trebled the numbers by planting native hedging. A great app.
Talli A
My favourite app
As a young birdwatcher who was always keen to be apart of a community but never seemed to find one, my problem was solved downloading this!!! Everyone is so friendly and just as excited to see birds as me 😁
Mike T
Sense of Community
A great app, which is continually being improved. What really comes through is the passion of those behind the app. The sense of community is brilliant, so much help and support provided to new and/or in experienced birders.
Pdydhdrexgi
Fantastic App
This is a really lovely app, for everyone interested in birds - from newbies to old hands. There is a very friendly feel to the community and you will genuinely learn a lot as you record your sightings and photos. There are lots of badges and competitions to keep you engaged, and a host of really useful features.
Amylia S
Best app for any birding person!
I love this app!! I am so addicted to it when I saw it had 3 star review I was so sad! The app is awesome!! The best app for any birding person! ❤️
As featured in
Birda Logo
AboutPressAmbassadorsAffiliatesInfluencersCareersPrivacyTerms & Conditions
An app for birdwatchers
Connect with us
Copyright © 2024 Chirp Birding. All rights reserved.