Bird Families

Plover Charadrius alexandrinus


Latin name:Charadrius alexandrinus
Additionally:European species description

Appearance and behavior... A small sandpiper, of the same size and constitution as the small plover, but longer-legged and slightly longer-billed. The wings are of medium length, sharp and narrow, the tail is of medium length, straight cut, the middle tail feathers are sometimes longer than the rest. Body length 15-17 cm, wingspan 42-48 cm, weight 35-50 g.

Description... Male and female in the breeding plumage are well distinguished. Adult males are grayish-brown above, sometimes with a weak buffy coating, white below, on the sides of the goiter on each side with a black spot. The forehead and stripe above and behind the eye are white. Across the front of the crown, between the white eyebrows - a black stripe. The middle and posterior parts of the crown and occiput are rusty-buffy. The necklace is white. A sharp black stripe runs from the beak to the eye through the bridle. A narrow black stripe stretches behind the eye, bordering the red cap. Uppertail is blackish-brown; lateral upper tail coverts are white. The two outer tail feathers are pure white, the other tail feathers are brownish, the middle pair is darker than the others.

In the adult female in the breeding plumage, the forehead is white, the eyebrows are pale buffy. Vertex and occiput are grayish brown. There is no black transverse stripe across the vertex. The stripes across the frenulum and at the posterior edge of the eye are brownish-buffy. The spots on the sides of the goiter are grayish-brown, often with a pale ocher tinge. The top of the body is grayish-brown, the bottom, except for the goiter, is white. The legs of sea plovers are three-toed, black or steel-gray, with poorly developed membranes between the middle and outer toes. The beak is black. The eyes are dark brown. Metatarsus and beak are longer than those of a tie.

Adult males in winter plumage are colored somewhat differently than in summer. Their forehead and eyebrows are white, the entire crown and back of the head are grayish-brown, there is no black stripe across the crown. The stripes across the eye are dark brown. The spots on the sides of the goiter are grayish-brown, the rest of the plumage is the same as in a summer feather, but more faded. Females in winter feathers look the same as in summer. Juveniles in juvenile plumage are similar in color to adult birds in winter plumage, but on each feather of the upper side of the body and on the upper wing coverts they have a relatively wider light apical border, due to which young birds look variegated compared to adults.

Young birds in the first winter are repainted, like adult birds in winter, but on the upper wing coverts there are wide whitish-gray or reddish-buffy apical edges, and the tops of tail and upper tail coverts are buffy.

Downy chick from above is all pale fawn or ash-gray, with black specks. A very narrow black stripe runs from the posterior edge of the eyes around the back of the head. On the neck there is a white necklace. A short black stripe extends from the beak through the bridle, not reaching the eye. The bottom is entirely pure white.

The sea plover differs from the tie and the lesser plover in black legs and an interrupted "tie" that looks like two spots on the sides of the crop, as well as a large amount of white on the sides of the tail. It also differs from the small plover with a white stripe along the wing, which sea plovers have in all outfits. The downy chick differs from the down jackets of the tie and the small plover in its pure white bottom, the absence of a black continuous strip from the beak to the eye, and the absence of a black longitudinal strip from the forehead to the crown.

Vote... Calling at non-nesting time - "Pete". When alarmed, it publishes a melancholy melancholy "puy-it". The current song sounds like a rhythmically repeated series “tiki-tiki-tiki. ».

Distribution, status... The nesting area covers the coasts of the seas and many inland water bodies of predominantly warm latitudes of many continents.In European Russia, it sporadically nests on the shores of the Azov, Black and Caspian Seas, as well as on large salt lakes in the Ciscaucasia and the lower Volga, to the north in the Volga-Ural interfluve to Lake Elton. Wintering grounds for birds nesting in European Russia are located on the shores of the Mediterranean and Red Seas, on the Arabian Peninsula, and possibly in the south of the Caspian Sea.

Lifestyle... They arrive at nesting sites in late March or early May, depending on the latitude of the area. As a rule, they migrate in small flocks, sometimes singly, migrating in the daytime. Males start mating soon after arrival. The current behavior is similar to that of the small plover. On the ground, caring for the female, the male, without haste, approaches her sideways, while the feathers on the chest and goiter are fluffed, and the tail is widespread.

Breeds on gentle, muddy, bare or almost without vegetation shores of salty and brackish lakes, coastal lagoons, salt marshes, sandy, pebble and shell seashores. The male makes several nesting holes, one of which becomes a nest.

Nesting sites are permanent, adult birds return to them from year to year, mating pairs also often remain for several years. The nest is a shallow hole in the ground, usually without any cover, less often at the base of a hodgepodge bush or among sediments at the edge of the surf line. The lining is stalks, pebbles, small shells, fragments of sticks. Often the eggs are more than half submerged in the lining. There are usually 3, rarely 4 eggs in a clutch. Repeated clutches usually consist of 2-3 eggs. The nesting period is highly extended.

At the same time, large feathered chicks and fresh clutches were found. Egg color varies greatly. Usually the main background is light, clay-yellow up to almost white, but often it is also dark, grayish-brown, olive-brown and even reddish. Scattered over the main background are dark brown or black lines, dots, curls and specks, mostly concentrated at the blunt end. Male and female incubate alternately for 23–26 days. If the nest is ruined, the pair may re-nest.

Hazard behavior is similar to that of small plovers. Chicks are kept by both parents for 27-30 days. After the rise of juveniles on the wing, they roam for some time in flocks within the nesting area, after which they begin to fly away. Departure occurs imperceptibly during September or early October.

It feeds on invertebrates. At nesting sites, these are usually insects and their larvae, spiders, small mollusks. Mollusks serve as the main food in places of migratory stops, and during wintering, primarily in tropical latitudes, small crabs play an important role in feeding.

On the coast of the Caspian Sea and in the east of the Ciscaucasia, there are flights thick-billed ploverCharadrlus leschenaultii, large (body length 22–25 cm, wingspan 53–60 cm), long-legged wader with a large beak, nesting from the Middle East to Mongolia. The male in breeding plumage has a reddish-buffy band on the goiter, reddish tones on the cap and neck, a black mask and a white forehead. The female is dimmer, without a mask. Adult birds in winter plumage and juveniles are grayish-sandy, without red tones, with an open band. On the wing above there is a light stripe, a lot of white on the upper tail. Desert species associated with coasts only during migrations and wintering.

Sea plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)

History of the species

The main bird habitat is the north of the country. Populations all over the world are numerous and do not need special protection. On the territory of Russia, for a number of reasons, a different situation has developed. The bird is endangered.

Charadrius alexandrinus is absent from the International Red Data Book. In Russia, the population is decreasing for 2 main reasons:

  • development of territories where Charadrius alexandrinus usually nests,
  • severe pollution of the territory in the north of the country.

Together, both factors led to a very rapid decline in the population. As a result, Charadrius alexandrinus is included in the Red Book of Russia.

External characteristics

The sea plover looks like a small bird, more like a sparrow. Its distinctive features are color, body structure. The species belongs to migratory, the color of the plumage partially changes according to the seasons.

Males and females differ, but not significantly. The male has a brown-gray, moderately uniform color. The neck area has a red tint. The feathers are white below. The belly is similar in color to the forehead, where there is a white strip of feathers. There are 2 white stripes above and below the eyes. The circle near the eye is dark, it turns into a dark color of feathers around the beak.

The crown of the male and female is equally dark. It has a black spot with clear boundaries. A gray surface extends from it to the neck. Then there are white feathers again. There are dark spots on the sides near the wings. Legs, beak almost black, uniform color.

The female is slightly lighter than the male. She is slightly less in weight. There is black on the crown of the head, but not always. The main color may vary slightly depending on the area of ​​residence of the flock.

Juveniles are smaller in size, slightly lighter in color. The young are more like females. The appearance of a dark spot indicates that the individual has reached maturity.

Brief description of the species

Zuek prefers to nest near green reservoirs. He chooses an area where there is shelter.

Open terrain is fine, but the main requirement is that there are no large flocks of other species nearby. The small size of the bird does not allow it to defend itself in the event of an attack. Birds huddle in small flocks. This is how they migrate long distances.

Food, hunting

The sea plover, despite its small size, is a kind of predator. It feeds on insects, larvae.

Females and males look for spiders and mollusks near the nests. Weed loves varied food. Adults feed young animals for a long time.


Upon arrival from warm countries, the bird begins to nest. The process takes place just before the laying of eggs. Breeding occurs in late spring when the weather is warm.

Males choose a suitable nesting site. The distance between the nests should always be large. Further the birds build a nest. It is located near rivers and lakes. The male is responsible for arranging the nests.

The socket is a recess like a hole. There are small pebbles around, they serve as protection. The average clutch consists of 3-4 eggs.