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Semipalmated Plover

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Movietown seafront, port of spain

Head and upperparts are dark brown with a dark brown breast band. Black eye, cheekpatch and fore-crown. The forehead, throat, breast and underparts are white. The tail is dark and bordered with white. The bill is black with orange at the base. The legs are orange-yellow. In the non-breeding plumage the face, forehead, and chestband more brownish and white eyestripe more apparent. Both sexes are similar, but female slightly larger with brown feathers in crown, mask and chestband, and with more distinct white eyestripe. The size is between 17-19 cm (7-7 in) and weight 47 g (1.66 ounces). The immature are similiar to the adult but with duller markings and pale scaling on back.

This plover is similiar to the Killdeer, Wilson's Plover, Snowy Plover and Piping Plover. The Killdeer is larger and has two distinct chest bands. The Wilson's Plover is larger, has dull grayish legs, a long, thick black bill, and a more flat-headed profile. The Snowy Plover has a pale back, dark legs, an incomplete chestband, and a short, thin dark bill. The Piping Plover has a pale back, a thinner, less complete chestband, and lacks dark in the face.

This plover breeds across Alaska and northern Canada eastward to Newfoundland and is a visitor to Trinidad and Tobago. Some birds are present throughout the year and can be seen on the coast and at marshes. It searches for prey visually, runs several steps, stops, stares, and then pecks or quickly snatches at prey. It feeds on small crustaceans, insects, worms and molluscs.

Family - Plovers

Other Names - American Ringed Plover

Latin Name - Charadrius semipalmatus

Range - Breeds in Alaska and northern Canada. Winters along the southern coast of North America, and in the West Indies, south to the southern coasts of South America.


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Birds of Nova Scotia. Robie W. Tufts. 1986 -

DeGraaf, Richard M., Virgil E. Scott, R.H. Hamre, Liz Ernst, and Stanley H. Anderson. 1991. Forest and rangeland birds of the United States natural history and habitat use. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Agriculture Handbook 688. Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds, at

Puerto Rico's Birds in Photographs. 2nd edition, Mark Oberle. 2003, Editorial Humanitas, Seattle Washington

Birds of Venezuela. Steven L. Hilty. 2003, Christopher Helm, London

A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. 2nd edition, Richard ffrench. 1992, Helm, London

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All photographs (unless otherwise stated) are the property of Brian Ramsey. No portion of the material on this site, including the photographs, may be reproduced without the express written consent of Outdoor Business Group Limited and Brian Ramsey. The permission of the other owners of the photographs must also be obtained for use.   

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Last modified: February 16, 2008