Thick-billed Plover (Charadrius wilsonia)

Thick-billed Plover

[order] CHARADRIIFORMES | [family] Charadriidae | [latin] Charadrius wilsonia | [UK] Thick-billed Plover | [FR] Pluvier de Wilson | [DE] Wilson-Regenpfeifer | [ES] Chorlitejo Piquigrueso | [NL] Dikbekplevier


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range

Physical charateristics

A medium-sized (16.5-20.0 cm) plover readily distinguished from other ringed plovers by stout black bill; upperparts grey-brown, underparts white, and legs flesh-colored. Has a white forehead connecting a white supercilium and white hindneck collar. White eye-ring contrasts with dark eyes and ear coverts. In breeding males, breast band, forecrown, and lores black; in females they are grey-brown. Nonbreeding adults and juveniles similar to females, but breast band may be incomplete and birds may appear greyer overall.

wingspan min.: cm wingspan max.: cm
size min.: 16 cm size max.: 20 cm
incubation min.: 23 days incubation max.: 24 days
fledging min.: 20 days fledging max.: 24 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


North America, Latin America : coastal East, Southwest USA to East Brazil, Peru


Wilson’s Plover is locally common on beaches, sand flats, and fresh dredged-material islands on both coasts and on the Keys, with concentrations on barrier islands and around large bays. The birds feed on tidal mudflats and sandy beaches, where marine invertebrates are abundant. Fiddler crabs are a favorite food, but a wide variety of other invertebrates are also taken


By early spring, birds arrive on breeding grounds and pair bonds may form before territories are established. Males create multiple nest scrapes on territories, but females choose nest sites
The nest is a shallow scrape in the sand, usually unlined, and is often built on dunes or a sandy or rocky beach, frequently placed near a piece of driftwood, a grass clump, or other object. Although the species has twice been recorded nesting on rooftops in Dade County, this is very rare. Three eggs comprise a typical clutch, unlike most other plovers, which lay 4 eggs. The eggs are cream or buff-colored and heavily spotted and speckled with black, chocolate, and grey. Incubation duties are shared by both sexes and last 24 to 25 days. The chicks are highly precocial and flee the nest almost immediately after hatching. They are capable of flight at about 21 days of age. The distraction display is highly developed in this species and was one of the easiest means of confirming breeding, along with observing recently fledged young.

Feeding habits

Crustaceans are a major food, especially fiddler crabs. Shrimp, mollusks, and flies also are consumed.


This species has a very 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 small, 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.
Thick-billed Plover status Least Concern


Partial migrant, with partially overlapping breeding and wintering range. Nominate race migrates to South Brazil. Florida population sedentary. Some birds of race beldingi migrate to South Peru; large numbers alongside local breeders on beaches of Bay of Panama late September to mid-October, leaving during late March. Returns to breeding grounds mid-March to late April. Race cinnamominus essentially sedentary

Distribution map

Thick-billed Plover distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *