Wilson’s Plover

Range Map
Charadrius wilsonia

Wilson’s Plovers are a rarity on southern California’s Pacific Coast. For me, it took a trip to south Texas to have the opportunity to spend time with one of these birds. 

As with their cousins, the Snowy and Piping Plovers, they rely on remote sand dunes above the high tide line to raise their young. Once called Thick-billed Plovers, their stout beaks serve them well to capture crabs and other crustaceans.

Modern Taxonomists recognise four subspecies of Wilson’s Plover:

  • C. w. wilsonia breeds along Atlantic, Gulf, and Caribbean coasts of North and Central America, the Bahamas, and Caribbean Islands. They spend winters along the Gulf Coast.
  • C. w. cinnamominus lives in the southern Caribbean.
  • C. w. crassirostris lives in northeastern Brazil.
  • C. w. beldingi breeds along the Pacific Coast from central Baja California and central Sonora south to northwestern Peru.

To date, my only meeting with a Wilson’s Plover was on South Padre Island at the SPI Birding and Nature Center.

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