Charadrius Montanus – Mountain Plover

Charadrius Montanus – Mountain Plover found in the United States

The mountain plover, Charadrius montanus is a ground bird of medium size that is a member of the plover family Charadriidae. It is misnamed since it inhabits flat ground. Unlike the majority of plovers, it is rarely seen near bodies of water or even on wet soil; instead, it favors dry habitats with short grass (typically caused by grazing) and bare ground.

Quick Overview: Charadrius Montanus – Mountain Plover
Body size: Around 8-10 in (20-25 cm) and a weight of 102 g (3.6 oz)
Main colors: Brown, Black, White
Range: Southern and the Western United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Near Threatened

Mountain Plover Description

The upper parts have a sandy brown color, while the underparts and face are a light pale white color. The forecrown is black, and there is a black stripe running from each eye to the bill (the line is brown and maybe imperceptible in winter); the plumage is otherwise plain. The mountain plover is significantly quieter than the killdeer, it’s relative.

Charadrius Montanus – Mountain Plover found in the United States
Charadrius Montanus – Mountain Plover. Photo by: Ron Knight

Size

These birds have a length of 8-10 in (20-25 cm) and a weight of 102 g (3.6 oz). Their wings could range from 17.5-19.5 in (44-50 cm).

Feeding

It is mostly a predator of insects and other tiny arthropods. It is frequently associated with cattle since they attract and stir up insects. In early spring, mountain plovers nest on bare ground (April in northern Colorado). The breeding region must be completely devoid of vegetation with short, sparse vegetation.

Habitat

Although the short-grass prairie on which it formerly flourished has been substantially turned to farming, the Mountain Plover has established a new habitat in cattle-grazed grassland. Plains, grasslands, and plateaus are semi-arid. Prefer regions with extremely low grass or even bare earth. Typically located far from bodies of water.

Behavior

Mountain Plovers graze on insects, mainly grasshoppers, in grasses and recently farmed fields. Crickets, beetles, and flies are additional insect prey. Mountain Plovers are social birds that frequently congregate in loose flocks of up to several hundred birds, especially during the winter.

Charadrius Montanus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Charadriidae
  • Genus: Charadrius
  • Species: Charadrius montanus

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the summer season (June – September).

Distribution of the Mountain Plover in the USA

Breeds in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and the Texas Panhandle, as well as the eastern part of Nebraska. Winters in central California, southern Arizona, and eventually in Mexico.

The Mountain Plover can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Charadrius Montanus – Mountain Plover

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