Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)

Greater Sand Plover

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Charadriidae | [latin] Charadrius leschenaultii | [UK] Greater Sand Plover | [FR] Pluvier de Leschenault | [DE] Wusten-Regenpfeifer | [ES] Chorlitejo mongol | [NL] Woestijnplevier


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Charadrius leschenaultii EU c AF, OR, AU
Charadrius leschenaultii columbinus Turkey to s Afghanistan se Mediterranean, Red Sea, Persian Gulf
Charadrius leschenaultii crassirostris Turkmenistan through s Kazakhstan to South Africa
Charadrius leschenaultii leschenaultii w China to s Mongolia and s Siberia Australasia and s Asia

Physical charateristics

Larger than C. mongolus, with larger, broader head, larger bill, longer legs and somewhat paler upperparts. Legs usually paler greyish green, but rather variable.
Male has narrower and more sharply demarcated rufous breast band than C. mongolus. Female has black on head dark grey-brown, no dark stripe on forehead, less extensive chestnut coloration on breast band.
Plumages of non-breeding adult and juvenile very similar to those of C. mongolus.
Races generally very similar, deffering in bill shape and color, both of breeding adult and of juvenile. Race columbinus extensively rufous on back and also on upper flanks.

wingspan min.: 53 cm wingspan max.: 60 cm
size min.: 22 cm size max.: 25 cm
incubation min.: 23 days incubation max.: 25 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 25 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Eurasia : Central


During breeding season found in deserts or semi deserts, at lower altitudes than C. mongolus. In open, uncultivated and treeless areas with bare, dry surface, usually near water.
During non-breeding season, mainly found on coast, on sheltered sandy, shelly or muddy beaches and estuaries, with large swamps. Usually roosts on sandbanks and spits.


April-May in Central Asia. Solitary. Nest is shallow scrape in ground, variably lined with plant fragments, situated in the open or among low vegetation. 3 eggs, incubation by both parents for at least 24 days. Chick has crown, back and band down leg pale cream or straw yellow, marked with black spots and lines, eyeline, forehead and sides of head black, and hindneck collar and underparts white. tended by both parents. First breeds when 2 years old.

Feeding habits

Mainly beetles, also molluscs, worms crustaceans, shrimps and other insects and their larvae. Occasionally lizards.
Feeds on mud or sand on intertidal mudflats, salt-marsh, shores of lades and


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). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not 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.
Greater Sand Plover status Least Concern


Migratory. Winters on shores of Australasia and Indian Ocean, but relation between breeding and non-breeding quarters poorly known. Probably migrates in broad front non-stop to non-breeding areas; some birds follow coast and occasionally large flocks are seen on passage, typically mixed with C. mongolus. Apparently strong fidelity to non-breeding sites. Flocks form after breeding season between mid-June and early August. Abundant in South China and Hong Kong late July to November; arrives Australia mid-August, Siuth Asia and Sudan to Tanzania late August to September, adults and immatures before juveniles. Body mass peaks in early April in Australia. Starts moving North from South East Asia in late February, peaking March to early April, and reaches breeding grounds from mid-March, most April-May. Departs East Africa and South Asia mid-April to early May. Some wintering birds, probably non-adults remain in wintering areas during breeding season.

Distribution map

Greater Sand Plover distribution range map

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