The Semipalmated Plover is a small shorebird that is found across North and South America. These birds measure about 6.5 to 7 inches (16.5 to 17.8 cm) in length and have a wingspan of 17 inches (43.2 cm). They weigh approximately 1.2 ounces (34 grams), making them one of the smallest plovers in North America.
Semipalmated Plovers have a distinct appearance, with a brownish-gray back and wings, white underparts, and a distinctive black band that runs across the forehead and down the sides of the neck. Their legs are relatively short and pale-colored, and they have partially webbed feet, which gives them their name “semipalmated.” The bill is short and straight, and it is orange with a black tip.
These birds breed in the Arctic regions of North America and migrate to coastal areas of the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America during the winter months. They can often be seen foraging on mudflats, sandy beaches, and other shallow-water habitats along the shore.
During migration, Semipalmated Plovers form large flocks and can often be seen in mixed-species groups with other shorebirds. They are very social birds and can often be seen running or flying together in unison.
Semipalmated Plovers are important indicators of the health of coastal habitats, and their populations have been declining in recent years due to habitat loss and other environmental factors. Efforts are underway to protect and restore their breeding and wintering habitats, and to better understand their migration patterns and ecology.