© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.
Little Ringed Plover
- Family: Plovers – Charadriidae
- Appearance: Similar to Ringed Plover, but has a yellow eye ring and its wing bars are so narrow that they are hard to distinguish.
- Size: Length 15–18 cm, wingspan 32–35 cm, weight 33–44 g.
- Nest: In a shallow depression in sand or gravel, little nest material used (shells, pine needles, straw fragments etc).
- Breeding: 4 eggs laid in May, incubated by both parents for 22–28 days. Fledglings learn to fly within 21–32 days. Fledglings leave the nest after hatching and soon learn to find food for themselves.
- Distribution: Found on open shores and other areas with little or no vegetation such as landfills or gravel pits. Finnish population estimated at 4,000–6,000 pairs.
- Migration: Autumn migration July–September, returning April–May. Winters around the Eastern Mediterranean and in East Africa. On migration more often seen by inland waters.
- Diet: Small invertebrates, insects, spiders, snails.
- Calls: Warning or attention-seeking call a loud “piuu”.
- Endangerment: Near threatened, protected in Finland. Globally Least concern.
Little Ringed Plovers are smaller than Ringed Plovers; their beaks are longer, thinner and darker; and they lack conspicuous white wing bars. Their facial markings are likewise black and white, but their black masks end in an angular shape by their ear coverts (not rounded as on Ringed Plover) and the black band over their foreheads between their eyes is separated from the brownish colouring on the back of their caps by a white stripe. A black band runs around the chest and up to each side of the neck. Their upper parts are sandy brown and their under parts are white.
Juvenile Little Ringed Plovers have no black markings on their heads. They have white colouring on the forehead, throat and neck, and only a fairly indistinct yellowish brown eye stripe. The feathers on their backs have narrow yellowish edges.
Little Ringed Plovers have pinkish legs, black bills (with a yellow base to the lower mandible) and brown irises. They have distinctive bright yellow eye rings, though these markings may not be clearly visible on juvenile birds.