Tuesday

Adorable Plovers


I was poking around the skins collections the other day and pulled out the drawer containing Snowy Plovers (Charadrius nivosus). Upon doing so I came across skins of these other two species, the Malaysian Plover and Red-Capped Plover. I have a bit of a thing for plovers because they are just so cute. As adults they run back and forth being chased by the waves making peeping noises the whole time and as chicks look like cotton balls on toothpicks.
The Malaysian Plover (Charadrius peronii) nests on the salt flats of Southeast Asia. The mating pairs, like many plover species, make little divots in the sand in which they lay their eggs, usually 3 at a time. The pairs can next more than once in a season. The male can be differentiated from the female by a black band around its neck, the female has a brown band. The Malaysian Plover is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN due to habitat destruction for building and by increased beach use by humans. The IUCN has found that by roping off parts of the beach to allow the short scrub to regrow the plovers increase in number due to increased habitat.
The Red-Capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus) is endemic to Australia and New Zealand. The male and female care for the chicks, but only the female tends the eggs which she will defend by doing a "broken wing" display to lure predators away from the nest. The nest, like that of many plovers, is a light dent in the ground.

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