- Charadrius dubius
14–17 cm (5½-6¾ in)
- Greyish-brown back and wings,
- White belly and breast
- Black neckband
- Brown cap
- White forehead and supercillium
- Black facial mask
- Yellow eye ring
- Short dark bill
- Flesh-coloured legs.
This species is very similar to the slightly larger Common Ringed Plover. The most obvious differences are the prominent yellow eye ring and all black bill in the Little Ringed Plover. Its legs are also reddish compared with the orange legs of the Common Ringed Plover. In flight it lacks the obvious wing bar of the larger species. On the ground, it is slightly duller and 'sleeker', with a more horizontal carriage - giving it an often rather 'furtive' appearance compared to its bolder larger cousin.
There are 3 subspecies1:
- C. d. curonicus - breeds Palearctic; winters to Africa, Arabia, eastern China, Japan and Indonesia
- C. d. jerdoni - India and south-eastern Asia
- C. d. dubius - Philippines to New Guinea and Bismarck Archipelago
Gravel pits, islands and river edges - rarely far from fresh water.
They nest on the ground on stones with little or no plant growth. The normal brood is three or four and they are sometimes double-brooded. The eggs hatch after about 25 days and the fledging period is similar. Within a short time of hatching the young birds can move very quickly, resembling tiny fluffy clockwork toys with legs looking disproportionately large. They are vulnerable to predation at this stage from crows, gulls and mammals.
As a Schedule 1 species in the UK they enjoy special protection. It is illegal knowingly to disturb them during the breeding season. After a few weeks they look like faded versions of the adults.
They forage for food on muddy areas; the diet consisting of insects and worms.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2023) Little Ringed Plover. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 2 December 2023 from https://www.birdforum.net/opus/Little_Ringed_Plover
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