, Charadrius pecuarius
This species is predominantly sedentary, but may make local movements related to seasonal rainfall. While breeding they are usually found in pairs or nesting in loose neighbourhood groups with nests 20 m apart. They are gregarious during the non-breeding season, usually occurring in small flocks of up to 20, sometimes even larger groups. Flocks of 100-300 have been recorded. It is diurnal but may feed during moonlit nights. This plover primarily inhabits flat, open, dry ground with very short grass or dried mud, often near the margins of lakes, reservoirs and rivers, or on small permanent and temporary pools, flood plains, dry sandy riverbeds and marshes. It is also found along the coast on dry salt-flats, tidal mudflats, lagoons, salt-marshes, estuaries, sandy beaches with kelp wrack and offshore islands, although it generally avoids rocky coasts. The species less often inhabits airfields, golf courses, overgrazed pastures and ploughed fields.Large view
This plover is carnivorous, usually hunting by sight for small terrestrial and marine invertebrates such as beetles, flies, bugs, grasshoppers, the larvae of moths and butterflies, spiders, molluscs, bristle worms, earthworms, leeches and crustaceans.
The nest is a shallow scrape in coarse sand or dry mud, often in an exposed position such as on sand ridges or sand piles, sandy-soil patches in open grassland, or on areas of dried mud devoid of vegetation. Nests are usually within 50-100 m of water, although they may be several km away, and breeding pairs may re-use old scrape nests or utilise natural depressions. Both parents incubate the usual clutch of two eggs. If a potential predator approaches the nest, the adult will walk away from the scrape, calling to attract the intruder and feigning a broken wing. Of course, once the intruder is far enough from the nest, the plover flies off.
The specific name, pecuarius, means "grazer", referring to the grassland habitat.
Kittlitz’s Plover is named after Heinrich von Kittlitz
, a German artist, naval officer, explorer and naturalist, a proliffic collector of bird specimen, some unique and some of birds that have subsequently become extinct.