An overview of the world’s plovers

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Plovers of the genus Charadrius and their close allies are a diverse group, numbering 40 species, many with subspecies. They breed on all continents except Antarctica, in open, sparsely vegetated habitats of tundra and grasslands, and along shores of oceans, rivers, and inland lakes. Most are migratory, especially those breeding in arctic and temperate regions; others are partial migrants or sedentary. On migration, they are poorly studied and do not always correspond to the typical shorebird (i.e., sandpiper) pattern characterized by dense flocks concentrating at a few staging areas. Their foraging ecologies are rather uniform in that all species search visually for prey using a “run-stop-peck” maneuver. Breeding birds defend nesting and foraging territories while nonbreeding birds forage in loose flocks, which may stem from individuals minimizing interference with conspecifics while enhancing benefits of shared vigilance for predators. In breeding, they are conservative, laying two to four eggs at daily or longer intervals; replacement clutches are common, especially in species with prolonged breeding seasons. Precocial young hatch after comparatively long incubation that is correlated with development of neural centers associated with vision. Their mating systems are a mix of social monogamy and biparental care, with frequent sequential polygamy, especially in temperate and tropical taxa that breed for extended periods. Population sizes vary over several orders of magnitude; several species are highly endangered. Other species are abundant and widely distributed, although their populations may also be in decline. Regardless of their status, most plovers occupy habitats throughout the year that put them at conservation risk owing to anthropogenic factors including climate change, human disturbance, habitat loss, and predation. In this book, we draw from the expertise of an international group of researchers to outline the ecologies, behaviors, and challenges of plovers throughout the annual cycle so that decision makers can be most successful in their endeavors to conserve and manage populations.

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title An overview of the world’s plovers
Chapter 1
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Routledge
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description 14 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title The population ecology and conservation of Charadrius plovers
First page 2
Last page 15
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