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Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola


The Black-bellied Plover is among one of the most widespread of shorebirds. It breeds in the Arctic of both the New and Old World, it needs to be noted that this species breeds in the northernmost reaches of the Arctic. This plover breeds farther north than most species of birds! Yet in the non-breeding season this plover migrates to beaches and mudflats all over the world, from relatively high latitude sites in the northern hemisphere to southern sites in the southern hemisphere as well as the tropics. In a sense, from the High Arctic, this shorebird takes over the world when not breeding. It is a large and husky Pluvialis plover, in breeding plumage the most black and white of the genus, with entirely black underparts but a checkered black and white upperpart pattern, not golden as in others in the genus. Most noticeable and visible throughout the year is that this Pluvialis plover shows a contrasting black axillary patch on a whitish underwing, and bold white wing stripe, and bright white rump and tail base. While most Pluvialis have some association with grasslands, this species is primarily one which feeds in mudflats, as well as flat, moist sand beaches. As in all plovers, it finds its food visually, rather than feeling for it with the bill as in sandpipers. The call is a mellow whistle that ascends and descends in a distinctive “Pee uuu WEE” sound.

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© William W. H. Gunn

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: