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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 7:25 EDT

Kentish Plover

The Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) is a species of wading bird found in most tropical and subtropical regions of the world, from southern Europe to Japan and in Peru, Chile, the southern US and the Caribbean. The American race is known as the Snowy Plover. The Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) is found from Texas and Oklahoma west to California, and up the coastline to Oregon and Washington. The Pacific Coast population breeds on beaches and gravel bars of the Eel River. Birds in warmer countries are mostly resident, but northern and inland populations are migratory and winter south in the tropics. Despite its name, this species no longer breeds in Kent, or even Great Britain.

The Kentish Plover is 6 to 6.75 inches long. It has long black legs and a thin bill. Its breast band is incomplete, and usually only appears as dark lateral patches on the sides of the breast. The upperparts are gray-brown and the underparts are white. Breast markings are black in the summer adult, otherwise brown. Some breeding males have a black forehead bar and a black mask through the eye. In flight, it shows blackish flight feathers with a strong white wing bar. The flight call is a sharp bip. There are six geographical races with some distinct color variations.

The diet of the Kentish Plover consists of insects and other invertebrates which are obtained by a run-and-pause technique. Breeding takes place on sandy coasts and brackish inland lakes. It is uncommon on fresh water. The nest is a scrape on the ground. And the female lays three to five eggs.

The Kentish Plover is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. It has been designated as a Threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

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Kentish Plover