Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Kentish plover

Thai: นกหัวโตขาดำ, nok hua to Lek khaa dam

Binomial name: Charadrius alexandrinus, Carolus Linnaeus, 1758

The Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) is a small wader in the plover bird family.

Despite its name, this species no longer breeds in Kent, or even Great Britain. It breeds in a wide range, from southern Europe to Japan and in Ecuador, Peru, Chile, the southern United States and the Caribbean.

The North American Committee of the American Ornithologists' Union and the IOC World Bird List have voted on or before July 2011 to split the American forms into a new species snowy plover, however, no other committee has voted to change taxonomy yet. In that light, the American forms can now be found under a separate species listing snowy plover, however all forms can still be found here until further actions are taken.

Characteristics

The Kentish plover is 15–17 cm long. It is smaller, paler, longer-legged and thinner-billed than ringed plover or semipalmated plover. Its breast band is never complete, and usually just appears as dark lateral patches on the sides of the breast. The Kentish plover's upperparts are greyish brown and the underparts white in all plumages. The breast markings are black in summer adults, otherwise brown. Breeding males of some races have a black forehead bar and a black mask through the eye. The legs are black. In flight, the flight feathers are blackish with a strong white wing bar. The flight call is a sharp bip.

This species breeds on sandy coasts and brackish inland lakes, and is uncommon on fresh water. It nests in a ground scrape and lays three to five eggs.

The breeding birds in warmer countries are largely sedentary, but northern and inland populations are migratory, wintering south to the tropics. Food is insects and other invertebrates, which are obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups.

This bird has multiple geographical races. The most distinctive are the two that breed in the Americas, collectively called the snowy plover. They are shorter-legged, paler and greyer above than the Old World subspecies, and breeding males lack a rufous cap. The eyemask is also poorly developed or absent. Genetic research published in 2009 strongly suggests that the snowy plover is a separate species.

The Indian and Sri Lankan breeding form also lacks a rufous cap, and has only a weak eyemask.

The Kentish plover is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

The western snowy plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus syn. Charadrius nivosus) breeds from Texas and Oklahoma west to California and up the coastline to Oregon and Washington, with the coastal form's primary breeding concentration in central and southern California. The Pacific Coast population has been designated a Threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

In many parts of the world, it had become difficult for this species to breed on beaches because of disturbance from the activities of humans or their animals. The University of California, Santa Barbara, is currently endeavoring to rehabilitate snowy plover populations by protecting beaches along the central California coastline that runs along part of the university campus. UCSB has had some success in encouraging reproduction; the university also often trains students and other volunteers to watch over protected beaches during the daytime to ensure no one disturbs nesting grounds.

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Videos of Kentish plover

  • Kentish plover

    Kentish plover

  • Kentish plover

    Kentish plover

  • Kentish plover

    Kentish plover

  • Kentish plover

    Kentish plover

  • Kentish plover - Cornwall

    Kentish plover - Cornwall

  • Kentish Plover - Rømø, Denmark

    Kentish Plover - Rømø, Denmark

  • Kentish plover - Kokkola

    Kentish plover - Kokkola

Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Charadriiformes
Family
Charadriidae
Genus
Charadrius
Species
Charadrius alexandrinus

Common names

  • English:
    • Kentish plover
    • Snowy plover
  • French: Gravelot à collier interrompu
  • Thai: นกหัวโตขาดำ, nok hua to Lek khaa dam

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Kentish plover, Charadrius alexandrinus in Thailand
  • Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Bang Pakong District, Chachoengsao
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bangkok Province
  • Borabue District, Maha Sarakham
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Chatturat District, Chaiyaphum
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Tao District, Chiang Mai
  • Hat Noppharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park
  • Hat Yai District, Songkhla
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Khao Lak - Lam Ru National Park
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Ko Libong
  • Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani
  • Kut Thing Non-hunting Area
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • Mueang Chonburi District, Chonburi
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Krabi District, Krabi
  • Mueang Pattani District, Pattani
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Phuket District, Phuket
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Mueang Samut Songkhram District, Samut Songkhram
  • Mueang Uttaradit District, Uttaradit
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Song Hong District, Khon Kaen
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Pak Phli District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Pak Thale
  • Pathio District, Chumphon
  • Pha Taem National Park
  • Pran Buri Forest Park
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • Sanam Bin Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Suk Samran District, Ranong
  • Takua Pa District, Phang Nga
  • Thung Tako District, Chumphon

Range map of Charadrius alexandrinus in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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