Friday, May 18

Greater sand plover

   ›      ›   Greater sand plover - Charadrius leschenaultii

The greater sand plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) belongs to the family of lapwings and plovers, the Charadriidae.

The greater sand plover species is distributed in Europe, west, east and central Asia, Africa, Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and Australia. These plover species are fully migratory. These plovers are polytypic species.
Overview & Quick Facts Description & Identification
Pictures of Greater Sand Plover Distribution & Range
Ecosystem & Habitat Diet & Feeding Behavior
Breeding Habits Migration & Movement Patterns
Conservation & Survival IUCN Status
Taxonomy & Classification Bird World

Appearance, physical description and identification

The greater sand plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) is a medium-sized plover, measuring 20 to 25 cm in length and weighing 55 to 120 grams. The wingspan is 45 to 60 cm.

The male breeding greater sand plover has grayish brown back and white underparts. The crown, nape, hindneck and sides of neck are chestnut. The tail has dark brown subterminal band.

The forehead is white. There is a dark eye band. There is a broad chestnut band across the upper breast.

The bill is stout, pointed and black. The irises are dark brown. The legs and feet are long and greenish gray in color. The call of these greater sand plover species is a soft trill or a short rolling "trrri" or "trrrr" sound.
Birds of India - Photo of Greater sand plover - Charadrius leschenaultii
1.Indian birds - Photo of Greater sand plover - Charadrius leschenaultii by Drajay1976


Indian birds - Photo of Greater sand plover - Charadrius leschenaultii
2.Birds of India - Photo of Greater sand plover - Charadrius leschenaultii by 孫鋒 林

Birds of India - Photo of Greater sand plover - Charadrius leschenaultii
3.Indian birds - Photo of Greater sand plover - Charadrius leschenaultii by Donald Hobern

Indian birds - Photo of Greater sand plover - Charadrius leschenaultii
4.Birds of India - Photo of Greater sand plover - Charadrius leschenaultii by Dhaval Vargiya

Origin, geographical range and distribution

These greater sand plover species are distributed in Europe, west, east and central Asia, Africa, Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and Australia.

The greater sand plover nominate subspecies C. l. leschenaultii is distributed in western China, Mongolia and Russia (southern Siberia). It winters in coastal southern Asia, southeast Asia and Australia.

The plover subspecies C. l. scythicus is distributed Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. It winters in coastal northeast and eastern Africa and coastal Indian subcontinent.

The greater sand plover subspecies C. l. columbinus breeds in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Armenia and Azerbaijan. It winters Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and southeast Mediterranean region.

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) of the greater sand plover species in Australia are Eighty Mile Beach and Roebuck Bay. The IBA in Kazakhstan are Altyn-Emel National Park, Arys-Karaktau State Reserved Zone and Zhusandala.

The IBA of the greater sand plovers in Malaysia are Sadong-Saribas coast, Pulau Bruit National Park, North-central Selangor coast, Malaysian Brunei Bay and Bako-Buntal Bay. The IBA in Brunei is Brunei Bay.

The IBA of the greater sand plover species in Saudi Arabia are Tarut Bay and Sabkhat al-Fasl lagoons. The IBA in Oman are Barr al Hikman and Masirah island. The IBA in Jordan are Azraq and Burqu'.

Ecosystem and habitat

These greater sand plover species do not normally occur in forests. They normally occur in altitudes from 0 to 3000 meters.

The natural ecosystems and habitats of these plover species include hot deserts, temperate grasslands, wetlands, tide pools, lagoons, brackish water lakes, marshes, coastal sand dunes, mudflats, shorelines, sea cliffs and rocky offshore islands.

Diet and feeding behavior

The diet of these greater sand plover species consists mainly of invertebrates. Beetles, termites, midges, ants and insect larvae are the primary food of the inland breeding populations. They occasionally prey on lizards (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

The wintering plover populations feed on coastal invertebrates like molluscs (bivalves and snails), crustaceans (shrimps and crabs) and worms (polychaetes and earthworms). They forages visually, with a running, pausing and pecking action.

Reproduction and breeding habits

The breeding season of these greater sand plover species is during April and May in central Asia. The laying season is from March to May in Turkey. These species are monogamous and territorial.

The nesting sites include open deserts, semi-arid areas and expanses of bare gravel or sandy grounds. The nest is a shallow scrape on the ground. It may be lined with plant material.

The greater sand plover clutch contains two to four, pale buff colored eggs with dark blotches. Both the parents incubate the eggs. The chicks hatch out after 24 days and become independent after about 30 days.

Migration and movement patterns

These greater sand plover species are fully migratory birds. The breeding populations occur in west, central and eastern Asia. They migrate southwards without stopping, on a broad front, between June and August.

The greater sand plover arrive in the wintering grounds between July and November. The return northwards migration to the breeding grounds occurs from late-February to early-May (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The sub-adults remain back in the wintering grounds.

Greater sand plover - Quick Facts

  • Scientific name: Charadrius leschenaultii
  • Species author: Lesson, 1826
  • Synonyms/Protonym: Charadrius Leschenaultii Lesson, 1826
  • Family: Charadriidae › Charadriiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Vernacular names: English: Greater sand plover, Chinese: 铁嘴沙鸻, French: Pluvier de Leschenault, German: Wüstenregenpfeifer, Spanish: Chorlitejo mongol grande, Russian: Толстоклювый зуёк , Japanese: オオメダイチドリ
  • Other names: Geoffrey's plover, Thick-bill Plover, Greater Sand Plover
  • Distribution: west, east and central Asia, Africa, Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, Australia
  • Diet and feeding habits: invertebrates, insects, beetles, crustaceans, molluscs, insect larvae
  • IUCN status listing: Least Concern (LC)

Conservation and survival

The global population size of the greater sand plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) is estimated to number about 154,000 to 340,000 individual birds. The overall population trend of the species is considered to be decreasing.

In most of its range, this plover species is reported to be generally uncommon to rare. The generation length is 5.8 years. Its distribution size is about 9,850,000 sq.km.

Habitat alteration, fragmentation and destruction, human intrusions and disturbance, coastal aquaculture activities and commercial hunting are the main threats that are endangering the survival of these plover species.

IUCN and CITES status

The greater sand plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) does not approach the thresholds for being Vulnerable, either under the range size criterion, or under the population trend criterion or under the population size criterion.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated the plover species and has listed it as of "Least Concern".

The CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) status is ‘Not Evaluated’ for the greater sand plover (Charadrius leschenaultii).
Taxonomy and scientific classification of Charadrius leschenaultii
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Charadriidae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Charadrius
Species:C. leschenaultii
Binomial name:Charadrius leschenaultii
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern
The three recognized subspecies of the greater sand plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) are:
C. l. leschenaultii Lesson, 1826,
C. l. columbinus Wagler, 1829 and
C. l. scythicus Carlos, Roselaar & Voisin, 2012.
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1.Photo source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/ (cropped)
Photo author: Drajay1976 | License: CC BY-SA 3.0 as on 5/18/18
2.Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/outdoor_birding/20567280761/ (cropped)
Photo author: 孫鋒 林 | License: CC BY-SA 2.0 as on 5/18/18
3.Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dhobern/24673048755/ (cropped)
Photo author: Donald Hobern | License: CC BY 2.0 as on 5/18/18
4.Photo source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greater_Sand_Plover_at_Kutch_2.jpg (cropped)
Photo author: Dhaval Vargiya | License: CC BY-SA 3.0 as on 5/18/18
Current topic in Birds of India: Greater sand plover - Charadrius leschenaultii.
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