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Lesser Sand Plover

From Opus

Alternative name: Mongolian Plover

Photo by Akiko Hidaka  Tokyo, Japan, August
Photo by Akiko Hidaka
Tokyo, Japan, August
Charadrius mongolus


[edit] Identification

Breeding plumagePhoto by FrancksanHokkaido, Japan, May 2007
Breeding plumage
Photo by Francksan
Hokkaido, Japan, May 2007

18–21 cm (7-8¼ in)

  • Grey back
  • White underparts
  • Legs are dark and the bill black


  • Chestnut breast, forehead and nape
  • Black eye mask

The female is similar but duller
Winter and juvenile birds lack the chestnut

The two groups mentioned under taxonomy differ in several characters, such that a member of the mongolus group on average are larger than an atrifrons sand plover, and mongolus have mottled flanks where atrifrons have clean white flanks.

[edit] Similar Species

Photo by GasheadDubai, United Arab Emirates,
Photo by Gashead
Dubai, United Arab Emirates,

Greater Sand Plover

[edit] Distribution

Breeds in northern Asia. Winters in south Asia, Africa and Australia.
Vagrants have been recorded in Europe and America.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Ssp. C. m. atrifrons : Breeding plumagePhoto by Alok TewariNazafgarh Marshes, Delhi-Gurgaon Border, India, May-2017
Ssp. C. m. atrifrons : Breeding plumage
Photo by Alok Tewari
Nazafgarh Marshes, Delhi-Gurgaon Border, India, May-2017
Ssp. C. m. pamirensis : Non-breeding plumagePhoto by Alok TewariJamnagar, Coastal Gujarat, India, Jan-2016
Ssp. C. m. pamirensis : Non-breeding plumage
Photo by Alok Tewari
Jamnagar, Coastal Gujarat, India, Jan-2016

There are five races, which fall in two groups[1]:

  • mongulus are the large east Asian forms, C. m. mongolus and C. m. stegmanni which are sometimes given specific status as Mongolian Plover, Charadrius mongolus.
  • atrifrons consists of atrifrons, pamirensis and schaeferi which, if the taxonomic split is accepted, becomes a narrower Lesser Sandplover Charadrius atrifrons.
  • C. m. pamirensis:
  • Pamirs to western China (western Xinjiang); winters to Africa and western India
  • C. m. atrifrons:
  • C. m. schaeferi:
  • C. m. mongolus:
  • C. m. stegmanni:
  • Kamchatka to Chukotsk Peninsula; winters to Australia

[edit] Habitat

Coastal shores, mudflats and fields

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Breeding

It nests in a bare ground scrape, laying 3 eggs.

[edit] Diet

Diet includes insects, crustaceans and annelid worms.

[edit] Vocalisation

Flight call: A hard trill.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728 6
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Thread in Birdforum Id forum discussing Lesser vs Greater Sand Plover identification

[edit] External Links


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