Ringed Plover

Charadrius hiaticula

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  2. Birds
  3. Wading birds
  4. Ringed Plover


A small, rotund wader, the ringed plover nests on bare gravel, shingle and sand at the coast and around flooded gravel pits and reservoirs. Unlike the little ringed plover to which it is quite similar in appearance, the ringed plover is a resident, although it is joined by wintering birds from Europe. Like other plovers, it forages for invertebrates and crustaceans in a particular way: standing and watching, running forward, pecking, then standing still again. Underground prey is tempted to the surface by 'foot-trembling' - the ringed plover taps its feet fast on the ground to mimic raindrops.

How to identify

Larger and chunkier than the little ringed plover, the ringed plover has an orange bill with a black tip, orange legs and no yellow ring around the eye. Sandy brown above, white below, with a black chest-band and black bridle markings on the head. When it flies it has a broad, white wingbar.

Where to find it

A common resident right around the coast, also found on gravel pits and reservoirs inland.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Breeding populations of ringed plovers are declining and are under threat from the development, drainage and pollution of their wetland and coastal homes. The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Ringed Plover
Latin name
Charadrius hiaticula
Wading birds
Length: 18-20cm Wingspan: 52cm Weight: 64g Average Lifespan: 5 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.