Common Ringed Plover: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Common ringed plover facts are fun to read!

The common ringed plover is one of the most beautifil plover species.  These birds are commonly spotted throughout the world, mainly covering the range of Arctic Eurasia. They fly in small flocks of about 30 birds. These birds belong to the Charadriiformes order, Charadriidae family.

Charadrius hiaticula is often seen with a black and white plumage. The term 'Charadrius' is derived from a Ltin word which once referred to a yellow bird mentioned in the Vulgate. Another derivative of this name is from 'kharadrios' , which comes from 'kharadra' meaning 'ravine', or a bird coming from the ravines.

The adult bird of this species has a beautiful black-orange bill. Juvenile birds lack this orange color on the bill.

For more relatable content, check out these palm warbler facts and pine warbler facts for kids.

Common Ringed Plover

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Insects, mollusks, crustaeans

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3-4 eggs

How much do they weigh?

1.41-2.82 oz (40-80 g)

How long are they?

14-16 in (35.5-40.64 cm) wingspan

How tall are they?

6.5-7.8 in (16.5-19.8 cm)

What do they look like?

Grey-brown upper body, white underparts, orange-black bill

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Habitat loss

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Tidal flats, beaches, open grounds


Europe, Africa, parts of Asia and North America





Scientific Name

Charadrius hiaticula





Common Ringed Plover Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a common ringed plover?

These ringed plover birds belong to the plover species.

What class of animal does a common ringed plover belong to?

The common ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula) belongs to the class of birds.

How many common ringed plovers are there in the world?

The estimated population of this bird has been made of about 415,000 - 1,400,000 individuals.

Where does a common ringed plover live?

The common ringed plover range extends across the northern Eurosiberian lands, and even in Greenland and Arctic northeast Canada. Some birds of this species are said to breed in western Europe and decide to nest in regions extending to northern France. The common ringed plover migration occurs in winters towards the coastal areas of Africa and parts of Asia.

What is a common ringed plover's habitat?

These birds are usually found near beaches, flatlands, or open grounds. They require little to no vegetation in areas of nesting. They do not prefer forests and usually settle within altitudes ranging between 0-328 ft (0-100 m). You might also spot them near estuaries, marshes, lakes, streams, lagoons, and rivers.

Who do common ringed plovers live with?

This bird is gregarious and is known to live together in small groups. They all roost together near their feeding grounds.

How long does a common ringed plover live?

The maximum longevity noted of the common ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula) in the wild is about 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

These birds follow monogamous relationships. The mating season occurs between the months of early April all the way to July. There is a lot of body display involved during the breeding months. Plovers show beautiful stunts in flight around their territory, singing a beautiful song as they flap around slowly. This is done to impress and attract a potential mate.

The ringed plover nest is built in a shallow depression in the ground near the beach or coastal sites. This plover species breeds in open lands, having very little to no vegetation. Nesting may be either solitary, in pairs, or be taking place in small, loose groups. If they participate in groups, the nests are usually about 16.4-328 ft (5-100 m) apart.

If they sense a threat from any potential predator who comes close to their nest, the adult plover would pretend to hop away, trying to lure the attention of the attacker. They would pretend to have a broken wing and feign injury. Once they feel the intruder is at a good distance from the nest, the adult would just fly away.

The female common ringed plover lays about three to four eggs, which are of pale grey hue and have multiple brown spots. Both adults take shared responsibility for the incubation, which takes about four weeks.

When the egg hatches open, the common ringed plover chick has pale grey down. They have dark upper parts and off-white underparts. There is a blackish broken pattern of breast band. They are able to fly after 24 days of hatching.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation level of the common ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula) has been listed in the IUCN Red List as a species of 'Least Concern'.

Common Ringed Plover Fun Facts

What do common ringed plovers look like?

This bird has brown-grey upperparts, which can be clearly seen on the crown, wing coverts, and tertials. They have a beautiful off-white belly and a straight buffed white breast. A clearly visible black tinted neckband is present. They have a white forehead, a blackish mask surrounding their eyes, and a small, bright orange, and black bill. They have short orange legs. The two outer toes are usually a little webbed.

The juvenile common ringed plover is considerably duller when compared to the adult bird. It is quite often to see them with a brown-grey, slightly irregular pattern on the band at their breasts. The juvenile has dull mustard legs and a dark bill. The head pattern is indistinct and of a brown hue.

Breeding birds are more bright and have black-white heads and breasts when compared to the non-breeding ones with duller bodies.

The common ringed plover proudly puffes out its black and white plumage in aggression.

How cute are they?

We love how adorable this species of order Charadriiformes looks!

How do they communicate?

These birds usually make a 'too-wee' sound which has a raised shrill on the second syllable. In situations of threat, they make long 'towee-towee' sounds. If they are interested in mating during the breeding season, they make 'tee-leaa, tee-leaa' calls.

How big is a common ringed plover?

Adult plovers grow up to 6.5-7.8 in (16.5-19.8 cm) in length. They have a wide wingspan, extending between 14-16 in (35.5-40.64 cm).

This makes them about two times the size of Anna's hummingbird.

How fast can common ringed plovers fly?

We are not aware of the speed of common ringed plover flight as it has not been recorded.

How much do common ringed plovers weigh?

These plovers weigh between 1.41-2.82 oz (40-80 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and female black and white birds of this species.

What would you call a baby common ringed plover?

Generally, a baby bird is called 'nestling', 'chick', or 'hatchling'.

What do they eat?

Food is mainly found in fields, tidal flats, or near the beaches. This bird feeds on aquatic worms, mollusks, crustaceans like shrimps and krills, insects such as beetles, flies, ants, and even insect larvae. Sometimes, they tap their legs on the water surface to give a 'rain' effect, thus drawing prey towards itself. They then grab the prey by plucking it with its bright orange bill.

Are they poisonous?

This bird species is totally not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

With easy dietary requirements and habitat needs, we do think the Charadrius hiaticula would make a good pet.

Did you know...

The common ringed plover has three subspecies under it.

These birds of Charadriidae family reside mainly in France and Great Britain throughout the entire year.

They are very territorial, puffing out their black-white plumage in aggression towards intruderes.

How do you identify a common ringed plover?

One easy way to identify this bird is the presence of the dark breast band on its body, which immediately classifies this plover as a ‘ringed’ one.

The common ringed plover has quite similarities to the semipalmated plover (Charadrius semipalmatus). Some easy ways to distinguish both species are given below.

Toe arrangement: only two outer toes of the common ringed plover feet are webbed in the common ringed plover, whereas the semipalmated plover has three toes in a webbed arrangement.

Breast band: the black band on the breast of the semipalmated plover is considerably narrower when compared to the ringed bird.

Body size: if you see birds of both these species together, you can identify the semipalmated ones as they are slightly smaller in their body sizes.

Eye ring: the Charadrius hiaticula has a very thin black eye ring which can rarely be identified, whereas the semipalmated plover has a bright orange eye-ring.

Supercilium: these ringed birds have a long, white supercilium extending from the middle of its eye till the end. The semipalmated plover has white arc pattern towards the posterior side of the supercilium on the underparts.

How did the ringed plover get their name?

The ringed plover gets its name from the presence of a black, dark breast band on its body. This breast band stands out and can be easily used to distinguish these birds from other species.

Other plovers of Charadriiformes order like the American golden plover, the mountain plover, and the snowy plover lack this band on their breasts.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Australian pelican facts and mountain quail facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring on one of our free printable common ringed plover coloring pages.



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