Black-bellied Plover can be found on six different continents during the
winter season, but breeds only on Arctic tundra. Most migrate
southward along the coastlines, but small numbers move through the interior
of the continent, where they may stop to forage in bare agricultural fields.
They are the largest of the North American plovers. Note the bird to
the right is in non-breeding plumage. Birds in breeding plumage are
much more richly colored and patterned, with a black-belly offset by white
rump, cap, and neck, and a boldly patterned back and wings.
in Arctic tundra during summer breeding season. In migration and winter,
they are primarily found on sandy beaches and tidal flats, although those few
that do migrate through the interior of the continent will also stop on
overgrazed pastures, short-grass prairies, and freshly plowed fields.
Diet: Primarily feeds on insects on its summer breeding
grounds. In migration and in winter, also eats mollusks, crustaceans,
marine worms, and some plant material.
Behavior: Can be heard whistling either day or
night. Finds most food by sight, running along the ground and pausing
periodically to peck at edible bits.
Song: Mournful three-note whistle, with 2nd note lower in pitch.
Migration: Summers throughout the Arctic.
Winters in an incredible number of regions, from the coasts of the United
States, southward all the way through South America, and even in Africa and
Australia. Note that small numbers of these, mostly immatures, can be
seen along U.S. coastlines at any time during the year.
Status: Generally stable throughout its normal range.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Black-bellied Plover"
Photo Information: Bon Secour National Wildlife
Refuge, Alabama - February 13th, 2008 - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Black-bellied Plover