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« Back Birds (UK)

Plover, Grey (Pluvialis squatarola)
Photo by Impy, UK
 


Plover, Grey (Pluvialis squatarola)

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Also known as the black bellied plover in the USA this is a winter visitor to the UK, found mainly on large muddy and sandy estuaries and bays. It breeds in the Arctic tundra, between the tree line and the coast. In summer it has silver and black spotted upperparts, a black face, neck and belly and in winter, it loses the black feathers and takes on a browny-grey look. In both plumages, the rump is white and in flight in winter it shows distinctive black 'armpits'. It is generally seen in small numbers, although flocks can form when there is a high tide.
It feeds on a diet of shellfish and worms.
A mournful 'plee-oo-wee' is often given in flight.


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