Killdeer

Charadrius vociferus
Range Map

Killdeer will range over most of the North American Continent into Mexico, even as for south as northern South America. We usually find them in pastoral and marshy habitats. As a shorebird and member of the plover clan, it can surprise us when we find these birds well away from water.

I sometimes jokingly call them the Double-Banded Plover, but their common name comes from the sound of their calls. Their scientific name vociferus (meaning outspoken) is a reference to its incessant loud cry. Sometimes their nesting practices confound logic, with nests placed in plain view on driveways, or next to well-travelled sidewalks, even rocky roofs of houses, garages or commercial buildings.

I’ve met Killdeer in many western locations, but the images in my collection are from California, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. I’ve captured birds foraging, birds in flight, birds with babies, eggs in situ, eggs in museums, and birds just complaining that I was in the area.

Today, science recognises three subspecies of Killdeer:

  • C. v. vociferus breeds throughout North America, with some winter migration to the Caribbean and Central and South America.
  • C. v. ternominatus lives in the West Indies.
  • C. v. peruvianus lives from Ecuador south to northwestern Chile.

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