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Conservation status: Amber

In summer it has silver and black spotted upperparts, a black face, neck and belly and in winter, it loses the black feathers and takes on a browny-grey look. In both plumages, the rump is white and in flight in winter it shows distinctive black 'armpits'. Like most plovers it stands very upright and tends to run and then suddenly stop to feed. It is generally seen in small numbers, although flocks can form when there is a high tide.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Pluvialis squatarola

Family

Plovers and lapwings (Charadriidae)

Where to see them

Found only along coasts, preferring large muddy and sandy estuaries. Largest numbers are found on the Wash, Ribble, Thames, Blackwater, Medway, Dee and Humber estuaries, and Chichester and Langstone Harbours.

When to see them

A few birds stay through the summer and the first migrant adults arrive in the UK in July and the young in August and September. Peak numbers are seen between November and March and birds leave in April and May.

What they eat

Shellfish and worms.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
--43,000 birds70,000 birds in spring

Distribution

Key

Audio

Marco Dragonetti, Xeno-canto

Similar birds

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