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White-faced Plover

Charadrius dealbatus

The White-faced Plover, Anarhynchus dealbatus, is a diminutive shorebird, measuring approximately 17 cm in length. It boasts a rounded head adorned with a white fore-crown and a white supercilium, while the crown itself is a pale rufous brown. The upper parts are a subtle brownish-grey, and the hind collar, throat, and underparts are a pristine white. Its beak and legs are dark, and it has a notably short tail.

Identification Tips

When observing this species, one may note its thicker, blunter beak compared to its relative, the Kentish Plover. The White-faced Plover is distinguished by its white lores, a paler crown, and upperparts, as well as less black on the lateral breast patches. Additionally, it features a larger white wingbar, which is a key characteristic for identification.


The White-faced Plover is typically found along sandy beaches, mudflats, and saltpans. It is a bird that appreciates the coastal shores, where the land meets the sea.


This bird graces a broad seaboard area of southern China and adjacent northern Vietnam. During the winter months, it extends its range southward, traversing eastern Indochina and reaching towards Sumatra.


While the White-faced Plover's behaviour is not extensively documented, it is known to feed on the foreshore, employing a strategy of visual hunting followed by a swift dash to capture prey or probing the substrate with its beak.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the White-faced Plover remain a mystery, awaiting the keen ears of an observant ornithologist.


The breeding habits of the White-faced Plover are yet to be unveiled to the scientific community.

Similar Species

The White-faced Plover is often confused with the east Asian subspecies of the Kentish Plover, Anarhynchus a. nihonensis, due to their resemblance. However, careful observation of their distinct physical characteristics can aid in differentiating the two.

Diet and Feeding

Although the diet of the White-faced Plover has not been thoroughly studied, it is presumed to mirror that of the Kentish Plover, which includes small invertebrates such as insects and their larvae, spiders, molluscs, crustaceans, and marine worms.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the White-faced Plover as Data Deficient, indicating that there is insufficient information to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction.

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White-faced Plovers on Birda

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Lucas Corneliussen
02 Jan 2023 - 10:15am

More Plovers

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

Kentish Plover

Charadrius alexandrinus
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