Maryland Birds

Piping Plover

pplover.jpgWhat do they look like?

Piping Plover and map of Maryland showing that they can be found statewide

The piping plover is a small sand colored shorebird with orange legs. A black band runs across the forehead from eye to eye and a single black ring encircles the neck. On the ground, the piping plover blends into the background. While flying, a bright white rump is visible.

Where are they found?

The piping plover is classified as threatened throughout it's entire North American range and as endangered in Maryland. About 60 pairs will arrive in late March to breed on open, sandy beaches and dunes undisturbed by humans on Assateague Island in Worcester county. Maryland piping plovers winter from North Carolina to Florida, with some migrating to the Bahamas and West Indies.

What do they eat?

Piping plovers eat marine worms, crustaceans, beetles, fly larvae, mollusks, and other small marine animals and their eggs.

What other kind of plovers live in Maryland?

Five other kind of plovers live in Maryland. These are: black-bellied plover, lesser golden plover, Wilson's plover, semipalmated plover and killdeer.

I didn't know that!

Piping plover populations have been reduced due to increased development and recreational uses of beaches along the Atlantic coast. There are about 2000 breeding pairs in North America.

Piping plovers will extend one foot out into wet sand and vibrate it to scare up food items.