Black-bellied Plover: Medium-sized shorebird with black upperparts vividly marked with a white spot on each feather. Face, throat, and belly are black. White forehead and crown, extends over eye and down back, sides of neck. Black armpit and white rump, vent, and wing stripe are visible in flight.
Range and Habitat
Black-bellied Plover: Breeds in northwestern Alaska and Arctic Canada. Spends winters mainly along the coasts from British Columbia and Massachusetts southward. Breeds on tundra; spends winters on beaches, mudflats, marshes, lakeshores, and plowed fields.
Also known as Grey Plovers, they are the largest of the North American plovers. They can be found on six different continents during the winter season, but breed only on the Arctic tundra.
The Black-bellied Plover is the only American plover that has a hind toe on its foot. The hind toe, however, is so small that it is difficult to see in the field.
They are usually the first to take flight when a flock of shorebirds is approached. When disturbed, they tend to fly out over water, circle, and land again behind the observer.
A group of plovers has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "congregation", "deceit", "ponderance" and "wing" of plovers.
The Black-bellied Plover is also commonly called the Grey Plover, and is thought to originate from North America. This species typically breeds in the arctic region, but is distributed nearly world-wide in non-breeding seasons. They frequently breed in the Arctic islands and northern coastlines of Alaska, Canada and Russia. In winter months, they migrate long distances, as far south as Chile and Argentina, Australia and even New Zealand. They forage for food on the beach, typically eating a diet composed of worms, mollusks, crustaceans and insects. The Black-bellied Plover has a current conservation status rating of Least Concern.