Black-bellied Plover

Black-bellied Plover
Black-bellied Plover winter

Breeding adult Black-Bellied Plovers are uniquely patterned water birds. They are mottled black on the back and are black from their bills to their bellies with a white border between.

Breeding females are less black than males. Non-breeding adults are grayer overall and with white bellies.

Juveniles are similar, but their upperparts have pale yellow spots and they have faint streaks on their flanks and breasts.

  • Pluvialis squatarola
  • Length:  11.5 – 13 in (29 – 33 cm)
  • Weight: 11.28 oz (320 g)
  • Wingspan: 22 – 25 in (56 – 64 cm)


Black-bellied Plovers breed in the arctic north before migrating south to coastal areas for winter. In North America, they migrate to both the east and west coasts of the United States from Canada.

Habitat and Diet

You can find Black-bellied Plovers on the tundra during the breeding season. In winter, you are most likely to find them along coastal areas like beaches and mudflats.

Black-bellied plovers usually eat invertebrate prey like insects, worms, and crustaceans which they get from dry, muddy, and sandy grounds. Their diet in their breeding grounds consists mostly of larvae of flies, beetles, moths, and butterflies and they also eat berries, and seeds.

Black-bellied Plovers Calls:


Nests of Black-bellied Plovers are simple scrapes on the ground made by the males. The females then line these scrapes with moss, lichen, and other plants.

The female lays three to four eggs which both parents incubate for three to four weeks.

Fun Fact:

The Black-bellied Plover is known as “gray plover” in the Old World (Asia, Africa, and Europe) and “black-bellied plover” in the New World (the Americas).