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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Jouko Lehmuskallio, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Ringed Plover

Charadrius hiaticula

  • Name also: Common Ringed Plover
  • Family: Plovers – Charadriidae
  • Appearance: A smallish wader from the plover family. Slightly larger than similar Little Ringed Plover, and has a shorter and thicker beak, and only an indistinct (or absent) yellow eye ring. White wing bar very prominent on birds in flight.
  • Size: Length 17–19.5 cm, wingspan 35–41 cm, weight 49–64 g.
  • Nest: In a shallow depression on sandy or gravelly ground, with limited nest material (shells, tree needles, straw fragments, gravel etc).
  • Breeding: 4 eggs laid April–May, incubated by both parents for 21–26 days. Fledglings leave nest soon after hatching and learn to find food for themselves. They learn to fly within 21–28 days. Parents often feign injury to distract predators away from nest.
  • Distribution: Breeds along open seashores and lakeshores. Birds of two races Finland may be seen in Finland: the nominate race (C. h. hiaticula) along seashores, and a northerly race (C. h. tundrae) inland in Northern Finland. Finnish breeding population estimated at 3,000–6,000 pairs. The nominate race has become scarcer in recent times due to the overgrowth of coastal meadows.
  • Migration: Winters in Western Europe and West Africa. Leaves Finland July–October, returning from late March.
  • Diet: Small invertebrates, insects, spiders, slugs and snails.
  • Calls: A soft two-syllable call “tül-li”.
  • Endangerment: Least concern, protected in Finland.

Ringed Plovers can be distinguished from the similar Little Ringed Plover by their larger size, white wing bars, and shorter, thicker beaks. Their black and white facial markings are similar, though the ends of their broad eye masks are more rounded and there is no white patch behind the black stripe that runs over their caps. A broad black belt runs from their chests onto the sides of their necks. Their backs are sandy brown in colouring and their underparts are white. Juvenile Ringed Plovers lack black face markings. They have white colouring on their foreheads, throats and necks, and only a faint yellowish brown eye stripe. The feathers on their backs are edged with narrow rusty brown margins.

Ringed Plovers’ legs are orange (mature birds) or greyish yellow (young birds). Their beaks are orange with a black tip (mature birds) or black with a yellow base to the lower mandible (young birds). Their irises are brown. Ringed Plovers do not have yellow eye rings typically visible on Little Ringed Plovers.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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