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Piping Plover

Charadrius melodus

Did you know?

Sometimes, Piping Plovers will stand with one foot in front of their bodies and vibrate it in the sand as a wave passes. This is thought to possibly attract invertebrates to the surface where they can easily grab them.

While pairs often change between years, during the breeding season a pair will remain monogamous.

An adult Piping Plover weights the same as a half stick of butter (2 ounces)

Species at Risk Status

Federal Government status: Endangered

Provincial Government status: Endangered


  • Small shorebird
  • Short orange beak with a black tip and orange legs
  • White belly and sand coloured back, wings and tail
  • Adult birds of this species will have a black breast band as well as a black band on their forehead


  • Sandy or gravely beaches just out of reach of the water and waves
  • It will spend all it’s time between the beach and the water outside of migration where they forage for freshwater invertebrates
  • They will nest above the highwater mark in these soft sandy areas with sparse vegetation


  • Harassment by humans, off-leash dogs, outdoor and feral cats, and vehicles
  • Destruction of beach habitat for development
  • Grooming beaches reduces hiding spots for the bird’s nest and make them more venerable to predators
  • Water level changes that alter habitat (while this can reduce habitat some years it can create habitat in others)

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