Semipalmated Plover

Charadrius semipalmatus

The Semipalmated Plover spends winters along the coastlines of North and South America, from the USA south to northern Chile and Argentina, usually at beaches or mud flats. These birds breed largely in the high Arctic tundra from Alaska and northern Canada through the Hudson Bay region and the coastal zone of northeastern Canada.

The term semipalmated refers to their partially webbed foot, which seems to help them navigate the soft muddy tidal areas where they are often found searching for a meal. The Semipalmated Plover makes its living preying on insects, worms, and small crustaceans.

Plovers are some of my favorite shorebirds. These birds have a similar appearance to their larger cousins, the Killdeer, but only have a single dark breast band. Similar in size to Snowy Plovers, the Semipalmated Plover’s plumage is much bolder. And where the Snowy plover prefers sandy beaches, the Semipalmated Plover loves mudflats.

Until my spring 2020 Texas adventure, my only encounters with the Semipalmated Plover were in California. Texas graced me with meetings on South Padre Island.

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