Red-capped plover

The red-capped plover (Charadrius ruficapillus), also known as the red-capped dotterel, is a small plover.

Red-capped plover
Charadrius ruficapillus Breeding Plumage.jpg
Male in breeding plumage
Charadrius ruficapillus.jpg
Female in breeding plumage
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Charadriidae
Genus: Charadrius
C. ruficapillus
Binomial name
Charadrius ruficapillus
Temminck, 1822

It breeds in Australia. The species is closely related to (and sometimes considered conspecific with) the Kentish plover, Javan plover and white-fronted plover.


Red-capped plovers have white underparts and forehead. Their upperpart are mainly grey-brown. Adult males have a rufous or reddish-brown crown and hindneck. Adult females have a paler rufous and grey-brown crown and hindneck, with a pale loreal stripe. The upperwing of Charadrius ruficapillus shows dark brown remiges (flight feathers) and primary covert feathers with a white wingbar in flight. Its length is 14–16 cm and its wingspan is 27–34 cm; and weighs 35–40 g.

Breeding plumage shows a red-brown crown and nape with black margins. Non-breeding plumage is duller and lacks the black margins.[2]

Distribution and habitatEdit

Manly Marina, SE Queensland, Australia

The red-capped plover is widespread in Australia; it is a vagrant to New Zealand, although it bred there for some time in small numbers from 1950–1980.[3] The species occupies a range of coastal and inland habitats, including estuaries, bays, beaches, sandflats and mudflats; inland saline wetlands. It is also found in inland wetland areas with bare ground.


"Nest" with eggs

Mainly small invertebrates, especially molluscs, crustaceans and worms.


A chick, adopting a camouflaged position that helps it avoid detection by predators such as gulls and crows.

The red-capped plover is a seasonal breeder on the coasts of Australia, but breeds in response to unpredictable rains inland.[3] The plover nests on the ground close to wetlands; the nest is a small depression in the ground, with minimal or no lining. The clutch of two pale yellowish-brown eggs are speckled with black spots. Incubation period 30 days; incubating is mainly done by the female. Upon hatching, the young are open-eyed, mobile and relatively mature (precocial); and flee the nest (nidifugous).


With a large range and no evidence of significant population decline, this species' conservation status is of Least Concern.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Charadrius ruficapillus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. ^ Grosset, Arthur. "Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus". Retrieved 9 January 2011.
  3. ^ a b Piersma, Theunis; Weirsma, Popko (1996), "Family Charadriidae (Plovers)", in del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew; Sargatal, Jordi (eds.), Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 3, Hoatzin to Auks, Barcelona: Lynx Edicions, pp. 432–433, ISBN 84-87334-20-2
  • BirdLife International. (2006). Species factsheet: Charadrius ruficapillus. Downloaded from on 12 February 2007
  • Marchant, S.; Higgins, P.J.; & Davies, J.N. (eds). (1994). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 2: Raptors to Lapwings. Oxford University Press: Melbourne. ISBN 0-19-553069-1

External linksEdit