Piping Plover: Distribution

Piping Plover Distribution Range

Breeding Range: Piping Plovers are divided into three different breeding populations:

  • Atlantic Coast Population
  • Great Lakes Population
  • Northern Great Plains Population

The Northern Great Plains population nests on river sandbars, alkali wetlands, sandpits, and reservoir beaches in the interior of North America. Their breeding range stretches from Alberta to Ontario and south along major river systems to Nebraska. The Great Lakes population includes plovers nesting on several Great Lakes beaches in northern Michigan and Wisconsin. The Atlantic Coast Population nests along coastal beaches from Newfoundland to South Carolina.

Winter Range: Piping Plovers winter along the Gulf of Mexico, southern Atlantic Coast, and Bahamas.

Piping Plover in Nebraska

In Nebraska: Today Piping Plovers nest along portions of the Missouri, Platte, Niobrara, Loup, and Elkhorn Rivers in Nebraska. They nest on river sandbars, lakeshore housing developments, reservoirs, and sand and gravel mines (more information can be found about these nesting habitats under the monitoring and research tab). In Nebraska Piping Plovers’ nesting habitat has been reduced due to years of human-caused changes to natural river systems. These changes include stream channelization, bank stabilization, dam construction for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation and channel dredging.