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Order Waders, Gulls, Skuas/Charadriiformes, Family Plovers/Charadriidae

Little Ringed Plover/Charadrius dubius - Adult

L 15½-18 cm, WS 32-35 cm. Breeds on bare, usually sandy or gravelly terrain near fresh water, e.g. river or lake edges or islands, often at man-made sites such as gravel-pits, reservoirs or saltpans. Summer visitor to Europe (mostly Apr-Sep/Oct), winters in Africa. Rather scarce in most areas, but sometimes seen in small groups on migration. Generally prefers freshwater margins and estuaries to coastal mudflats. Food mainly insects. Nest is shallow scrape on bare ground.
IDENTIFICATION: Slightly smaller than Ringed Plover, with slimmer, longer bill and more slender rear end. Often appears slightly longer-legged owing to less ‘full’ chest and belly. No light wing-bar or only a very faint one; dark ear-covert patch often rather pointed at lower rear corner, not rounded. Long tertials cover most of primaries (thus shorter primary projection than on Ringed Plover). - Adult: Distinctive combination of obvious yellow orbital ring, all-black bill, and pale brownish- or greyish-pink (not orange) legs. female has much brown in black head markings and breastband. In winter, black on head and breast becomes brown, forehead and supercilium buffish; yellow orbital ring usually still visible. - Juvenile: Told from Ringed by smaller and more diffuse pale area on forehead, not extending back behind eye in obvious supercilium (is just tinged buff above lores and eye), and pale yellow orbital ring visible at close range.
VOICE: Commonest call, often heard from lone bird in flight, male slightly downslurred, short, piping ‘piu’ (or ‘pew’). Alarm-call a similar but straighter and more strident and hard ‘pree’. On territory, sometimes an almost Sand Martin-like rasping ‘rererere…’ . Song, either in daytime in slow-winged, bat-like display circuit or heard at night, consists of quick, hard ‘pri-pri-pri- …’ and rather slow, rhythmic, coarse, buzzy ‘crree-a, crree-a, crree-a, …’ .

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