The Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) is a medium-sized bird. It is also known as the Black-Bellied Plover.
The Grey Plover is grey with blackish-brown markings, and white patches on its back and wings. Its face and neck are blackish with a white border. It has a blackish chest and belly and a whitish back. Its tail is white with black barring. Its beak and legs are black. When it moults (loses its feathers), it is plain grey-brown above with a greyish-flecked chest and white belly.
It measures 27–30 centimetres (11–12 inches) long, with a wingspan of 71–83 centimetres (28–33 inches).
The Grey Plover is native to the Northern Hemisphere, in countries such as Alaska, Canada, and Russia. It prefers lakes, wetlands, and the sea coast. It is a long-distance migratory bird. It migrates south to coastal regions, even as far as South Africa and Australia.
It forages for food on beaches and tidal flats. It eats molluscs, such as snails, as well as worms, crabs, shrimp, and insects.
It nests on the ground in a shallow depression in gravel and stones. The female lays 3-4 eggs, which hatch after 26-27 days. The chicks gain their flight feathers after 35-45 days.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM