Caspian Plover (Charadrius asiaticus)

Caspian Plover

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Charadriidae | [latin] Charadrius asiaticus | [UK] Caspian Plover | [FR] Pluvier asiatique | [DE] Wermut-Regenpfeifer | [ES] Chorlitejo asiatico | [NL] Kaspische Plevier


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

Slim, upright plover, with clear white supercilium, forehead and throat. Brown crown and upperparts. Breast band rusty red or chestnut, with black line on border with white belly. White flashes on upperwing, underwing coverts white. Legs vary between pinkish yellow, greyish green and pale grey or brown.
Rresembles closely related C. veredus, but neck and legs slightly shorter. Taller and less compact than C. mongolus or C. leschenaultii.
Female has breast grey-brown without black edge. Non-breedubg adult has greyish brown breast band. Face, forehead and throat pale buffish, upperparts with rufous-buff edges, when fresh.

wingspan min.: 55 cm wingspan max.: 61 cm
size min.: 18 cm size max.: 20 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


Eurasia : Westcentral


Breeds in lowland desert and desert steppe, preferably in salt-pans and on saline soil, often subject to seasonal flooding, near water among sparse shrub vegetation.
Concentrations after breeding on banks of lakes and rivers, and water-holes trampled by cattle.
In Africa, occurs on recently burnt or heavily grazed grassland and dry floodplains, often far from water. Sometimes on bare cultivated ground.


Breeding starts from April to June, monogamous pair bond reported. Songflight may be heard until midnight on moonlit nights. Territorial, nesting singly or in small, loose groups of 10-25 pairs. Adults will feed in small flocks outside territory, leaving eggs and young unattended. Nest is shallow scrape, sparsely lined with plant matirial and debris, on ground in the open or among low vegetation. 3 eggs, incubated by both parents, only female at night. Chick has crown, back and band down leg pale cream, marked with black spots, forming lines on crown, back and forewings white forehead, sides of head, hindneck collar and underparts are white. Tended by both parents. Age of first breeding probably 2 years.

Feeding habits

Primarily insects and their larvae. In breeding season mainly takes beetles, also ants, grasshoppers, bugs, caterpillars and fly larvae, occasionally plant material, grass and seeds.
During non-breeding season, beetles, termites and grasshoppers, also small snails. Observed hunting for insects in town garbage heaps and cow dung.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Charadrius asiaticus has a predominantly Central Asian breeding distribution, which
just extends into Europe in southern Russia. Its European breeding population is
very small (as few as 130 pairs), and declined substantially between 1970-1990.
Although its trend in Russia during 1990-2000 was not known, there is no evidence
to suggest that earlier declines ceased, and the species probably continued to decline.
As a consequence of this inferred continuing decline and its small population size.
Caspian Plover status Least Concern


Migratory. Usually moves in small flocks of 5-12 birds, sometimes up to 30. Flocks form after breeding, gradually merging for migration during August. Migrates Southward in August-October, return migration mid March to early May. Stop-over sights in Iran, Iraq, Arabian Peninsula, Red Sea, and perhaps Gulf of Aden, but probably overflies Middle East region during autumn migration. Migrates in broad front to and from North East Africa; arrives North East Africa from middle to late August; main arrivals in non-breeding areas September-October, averaging later South of equator. On migration, common to very abundant in Ethiopia (peak August-September), Somalia and coasts of Kenya and Tanzania; within Africa, gradually moves South in nomadic fashion following local dry seasons, in flocks of 5-20 birds, sometimes moving at night. Main wintering sites are upland plains of South West Kenya and Tanzania, and Botswana, North & East Namibia and South Africa. Departure from South Africa late February to early March, East & South East Africa late March to early April, arriving Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan from late March to early April. During non-breeding season, usually in small flocks of up to several hundreds.

Distribution map

Caspian Plover distribution range map

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