The Grey Plover is a bird that is found along the coastline of all the continents, with the exception of Antarctica, at various times of the year. With a worldwide population estimated at around 750,000 birds, the IUCN considers it to be of least concern. They arrive in South Africa from their Siberian breeding grounds around September and depart again by April, with an estimated 9,000 birds being found along our entire coastline during that time. The Langebaan lagoon in the West Coast National Park is one of the best places to see this species in South Africa. Some, usually younger individuals, will stay here through the winter and don’t join the migration back to the northern hemisphere, as they don’t breed until they’re two years old.
Grey Plovers feed on aquatic invertebrates pecked from exposed mud flats and sand banks on beaches and around estuaries and lagoons. They may roost in large flocks outside the breeding season, but usually forage alone or in pairs. Adults are about 29cm long and weigh around 230g.