Mountain Plovers are medium-sized shorebirds that seemingly disappear into their surroundings when disturbed.
Breeding adult Mountain Plovers are tan or sandy brown on the back and white underneath with dark bills.
Nonbreeding adults and juveniles are similar with brownish heads and backs, and white underparts. They do not have the dark line between the eyes and bills like the breeding adults.
- Charadrius montanus
- Length: 8 – 10 in (20 – 25 cm)
- Weight: 3.7 oz (105 g)
- Wingspan: 17.5 – 19.5 in (44.5 – 49.5 cm)
Mountain Plovers actually breed in the Great Plains and migrate to southern US states.
Habitat and Diet
You can find Mountain Plovers, not in the mountains as their name suggests, but in flat, open short-grass prairies. In winter, they will occupy plowed fields and coastal prairies.
Mountain Plovers mostly eat insects like grasshoppers, beetles, flies, ants, and crickets. They will usually run forward and then pause and peck when they spot something on the ground.
Mountain Plover call:
Nests of Mountain Plovers are often found on flat, open ground. They are made by males and are mostly just shallow scrapes on the ground next to animal droppings.
The female lays six eggs separated into two clutches. The first clutch with three eggs is incubated by the male. The second clutch of three eggs is then incubated by the female. Incubation lasts about a month.
Mountain Plovers are considered “Near Threatened” because of the loss of habitat from crop planting and removal of prairie dogs.