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Bird Gallery

Snowy Plover

Snowy Plover
Snowy Plover (breeding plumage)

© David McDonald

Charadrius nivosus

Family: (Charadriidae) Plovers and Lapwings

Preferred Habitat: Sandy beaches and barren ground.

Seasonal Occurrence: Common fall through spring.

Notes: The Snowy Plover is a threatened small shorebird, they are similar in appearance to Piping Plovers, but the plumage is paler. Note also the Snowy Plover's gray legs (Piping Plovers have orange legs) and relatively long black bill. Call is a husky, trilling "purrt," and a whistled "tur-weet," accented on the second syllable.

Snowy Plover nests usually contain three tiny eggs, which are camouflaged to look like sand and barely visible to even the most well-trained eye. Snowy Plovers will use almost anything they can find on the beach to make their nests, including kelp, driftwood, shells, rocks, and even human footprints. For the first time in four years Snowy Plovers are breeding on Houston Audubon’s Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary and Galveston’s East Beach.

Snowy Plover
Snowy Plover (nonbreeding plumage)

© Joseph Kennedy, Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary

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