Common Ringed Plover

Charadrius hiaticula

The Common Ringed Plover is a summer visitor to South Africa, migrating to our country and much of sub-Saharan Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Mediterranean from their arctic breeding grounds. Most of the birds move to the coast, where they prefer the muddy banks of estuaries and lagoons as well as rocky shores,with a lesser number overwintering at our inland water bodies – dams, marshes and even sewerage works. The first birds arrive from September, with the last ones departing by early May. A handful of individuals, perhaps those too weak to make the long distance journey, remain behind throughout our winter. They feed on small crustaceans and other aquatic and water-associated invertebrates.

The IUCN considers the Common Ringed Plover to be of least concern. It is estimated that the adult population worldwide may be as high as 1,4-million, of which as many as 10,000 arrive in southern Africa annually, from places as far afield as Siberia, 18,000km distant, and a remarkable feat for a bird so small! Adults measure about 19cm long, and weigh around 50g.

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16 thoughts on “Common Ringed Plover

  1. Samuel

    Ah, that’s one I’m familiar with (or was, before traveling to New Zealand). Like you and Takami, I’m in awe with these long-distance travellers… godwits from Alaska fly non-stop to New Zealand in autumn, 11000km in one go 😮

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  2. T Ibara Photo

    These waders are so beautiful and resilient! I can’t imagine how they can travel such distances (and the obstacles they endure) when migrating. I’m always so happy when they decided to stop by my country while on route to their next destination 🙂 All best wishes to you and your family 🙂

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