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Charadrius vociferus

Common Names: Killdeer,
Charadrius vociferus
Charadrius vociferus

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Charadriidae
Genus: Charadrius
Species: Charadrius vociferus

Conservation Status

Identifying Features

Killdeer are large plovers, reaching up to 11 inches in length and 2 feet in wingspan. Their bodies are mostly brown, with a white belly and chest marked by two distinct black bands.

Habitat & Range

Killdeer are migratory, breeding in northern territories and overwintering in southern latitudes. They are found throughout most of North America, extending through Central America and northern regions of South America.

Killdeer occupy coastal beaches, wetlands, & fields. They breed in open spaces and fields.


Killdeer are primarily insectivores,but also feed on seeds and invertebrates. They forage in open fields with standing water. When threatened by predators they protect their nests with a distraction display,mimicking injury and leading predators astray.

Life Cycle

Killdeer breed from mid-March to August, with northern breeders starting later in the season. They construct simple scrape nests, small depressions lined with vegetative material and fragments of stones or shells.

Eggs are laid in clutches of 4-6 eggs that are incubated for up to 28 days. Shortly after hatching, the young are led to foraging areas to feed until they fledge a month later. Young Killdeer reach maturity after 1 year.

Featured image by Tim Lenz


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