Resembling a much larger Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), the Killdeer is most easily identified by its size (9-11 inches), brown back, two black breast bands, and orange-brown rump. Other field marks include its gray-green legs, black bill, and red eye ring. Male and female Killdeers are similar to one another in all seasons. The Killdeer breeds across the United States and southern Canada. Birds breeding in coastal areas and in the interior south are non-migratory, while birds breeding further north migrate south to Central America in winter. Other non-migratory populations occur in Mexico, Peru, and the West Indies. Less associated with water than most of its relatives, the Killdeer inhabits a number of open habitat types, including grasslands, mudflats, and gravel deposits. Also utilizes numerous man-made environments, such as fields, golf courses, and airports. The Killdeer eats small invertebrates, primarily worms and insects, but may consume plant matter when prey is scarce. Killdeers may be most easily observed while foraging for food, when it may be seen probing the soil with their bills or running across the surface to catch prey. Nesting Killdeer may also be observed feigning broken wings to lure intruders away from the nest site. This species is mainly active during the day, but frequently feeds at night when insects are plentiful.Rights Holder
: UnknownBibliographic Citation
: Rumelt, Reid B. Charadrius vociferus. June-July 2012. Brief natural history summary of Charadrius vociferus. Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.