Plovers (/ˈplʌvər/ or /ˈplvər/) are a widely distributed group of wading birds belonging to the subfamily Charadriinae.

Thinornis rubricollis - Orford.jpg
Hooded dotterel (Thinornis rubricollis)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Charadriidae
Subfamily: Charadriinae
Leach, 1820


Little ringed plover Charadrius dubius
Lesser sand plover, Charadrius mongolus
Snowy plover, on the beach at Vandenberg, CA


There are about 66 species[1] in the subfamily, most of them called "plover" or "dotterel". The closely related lapwing subfamily, Vanellinae, comprises another 20-odd species.[2]

Plovers are found throughout the world, with the exception of the Sahara and the polar regions, and are characterised by relatively short bills. They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipes do. They feed mainly on insects, worms or other invertebrates, depending on the habitat, which are obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups.[3]

Plovers engage in false brooding, a type of distraction display. Examples include: pretending to change position or to sit on an imaginary nest site.

A group of plovers may be referred to as a stand, wing, or congregation. A group of dotterels may be referred to as a trip.[4]

Species list in taxonomic orderEdit

The International Ornithological Congress (IOC) recognizes these 45 species of plovers and dotterels. They are distributed among 10 genera, some of which have only one species. One species on the list, the Javan lapwing, is extinct.[5]

This list is presented according to the IOC taxonomic sequence and can also be sorted alphabetically by common name and binomial.

Common name Binomial name IOC sequence
Red-kneed dotterel Erythrogonys cinctus 1
Inland dotterel Peltohyas australis 2
Wrybill Anarhynchus frontalis 3
European golden plover Pluvialis apricaria 4
Pacific golden plover Pluvialis fulva 5
American golden plover Pluvialis dominica 6
Grey plover Pluvialis squatarola 7
New Zealand plover Charadrius obscurus 8
Common ringed plover Charadrius hiaticula 9
Semipalmated plover Charadrius semipalmatus 10
Long-billed plover Charadrius placidus 11
Little ringed plover Charadrius dubius 12
Wilson's plover Charadrius wilsonia 13
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus 14
Piping plover Charadrius melodus 15
Madagascan plover Charadrius thoracicus 16
Kittlitz's plover Charadrius pecuarius 17
St. Helena plover Charadrius sanctaehelenae 18
Three-banded plover Charadrius tricollaris 19
Forbes's plover Charadrius forbesi 20
White-fronted plover Charadrius marginatus 21
Kentish plover Charadrius alexandrinus 22
White-faced plover Charadrius dealbatus 23
Snowy plover Charadrius nivosus 24
Javan plover Charadrius javanicus 25
Red-capped plover Charadrius ruficapillus 26
Malaysian plover Charadrius peronii 27
Chestnut-banded plover Charadrius pallidus 28
Collared plover Charadrius collaris 29
Puna plover Charadrius alticola 30
Two-banded plover Charadrius falklandicus 31
Double-banded plover Charadrius bicinctus 32
Lesser sand plover Charadrius mongolus 33
Greater sand plover Charadrius leschenaultii 34
Caspian plover Charadrius asiaticus 35
Oriental plover Charadrius veredus 36
Eurasian dotterel Charadrius morinellus 37
Rufous-chested plover Charadrius modestus 38
Mountain plover Charadrius montanus 39
Hooded dotterel Thinornis cucullatus 40
Shore dotterel Thinornis novaeseelandiae 41
Black-fronted dotterel Elseyornis melanops 42
Tawny-throated dotterel Oreopholus ruficollis 43
Diademed sandpiper-plover Phegornis mitchellii 44
Pied plover Hoploxypterus cayanus 45

In folkloreEdit

The European golden plover[6] spends summers in Iceland, and in Icelandic folklore, the appearance of the first plover in the country means that spring has arrived. The Icelandic media always covers the first plover sighting, which in 2017 took place on March 27, 2017.[7]


  1. ^ Coomber, Richard (1991). "Charadriiformes: Plovers". Birds of the World. Godalming, Surrey: Colour Library Books. pp. 97–100. ISBN 978-0862838065.
  2. ^ Sangster, G.; Knox, A. G.; Helbig, A. J.; Parkin, D. T. (2002). "Taxonomic recommendations for European birds". Ibis. 144 (1): 153–159. doi:10.1046/j.0019-1019.2001.00026.x.
  3. ^ Perrins, Christopher (2003). The New Encyclopedia of Birds. Oxford U. P. ISBN 978-0-19-852506-6.[page needed]
  4. ^ "What do you call a group of ...?". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford U. P. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  5. ^ Gill, F.; Donsker, D.; Rasmussen, P. (July 2020). "IOC World Bird List (v 10.2)". Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  6. ^ "The Golden Plover has arrived, indicating spring in Iceland". IceNews - Daily News. March 27, 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Spring has arrived in Iceland, according to folklore". Retrieved 4 April 2018.

External linksEdit