South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Charadrius vociferus

Length: 9 - 10 inches Wingspan: 19 - 21 inches Seasonality: Summer
ID Keys: Two black bands across it's chest, red eye ring, distinctive call

Killdeer - Charadrius vociferusA very common (and noisy) sight throughout South Dakota in the summer.  Killdeer are known for their loud kill-deeeeer cry and for the adults' famed "crippled bird" behavior in trying to lure predators away from their nest by feigning injury.  Killdeer have become very accustomed to a human presence, even nesting in suburban areas.

Habitat: Open ground such as pastures, fields, large lawns, shores, river banks, and mudflats. 

Diet: Mostly insects, also earthworms, snails, and crayfish. 

Nesting: May through June

Breeding Map: Breeding bird survey map

Song: Killdeer Song

Migration: Killdeer in the Northern U.S. and Canada migrate to the southern U.S. and Mexico.  Southern populations are semi-permanent.

Similar Species: Semipalmated Plover

Conservation Status: Widespread and common, and becoming well adapted to living in a human presence.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Killdeer

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Killdeer"

3) Killdeer

Photo Information: April 26th, 2003 -- Western Minnehaha County -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Killdeer photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Range Map - Killdeer
South Dakota Status: Common and widespread throughout South Dakota