The Piping Plover is a state and federally threatened species. It gained protection under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1986. It is a small and stocky migratory shorebird that was named for the melodic "piping" of its' call. Piping Plovers are found in open sandy habitats such as river sandbars and sandy beaches. They feed on insects and small aquatic invertebrates and are often observed running rapidly along shorelines in search of prey.

Piping Plovers are:

  • About the size of a House Sparrow
  • 6.5 inches long from beak to tail
  • 15 inch wingspan from wing tip to wing tip


Breeding Adult

  • white undersides

  • sand colored wings and back

  • single black breast band

  • black forehead patch

  • orange legs

  • orange bill with black tip

Breeding adult Piping Plover
Breeding adult Piping Plover

Winter & Age

Winter Adult

  • lack black breast band

  • lack black forehead patch

  • pale orange legs

  • all black bill

Juvenile (1 years old)

  • closely resembles winter adult

  • mottled gray-white body

  • lack breast band and forehead patch

  • pale orange legs

  • all black bill

Winter adult Piping Plover
Winter adult Piping Plover