Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula)


French: Pluvier grand-gravelot German: Sandregenpfeifer Spanish: Chorlitejo grande

Charadrius Hiaticula


, 1758,



Probably closely related to C. semipalmatus, with which in past was sometimes considered conspecific; some hybridization on Baffin I (NE Canada). Has occasionally been thought to include C. placidus as a race. Distinction between subspecies based on moult; features changing clinally N–S, rather than E–W, make it impossible to draw dividing line in NW Europe. Race psammodromus, based on minor differences in average size, often regarded as a synonym of nominate, but now thought to be sufficiently distinct to warrant recognition#R. Proposed race kolymensis (from Kolyma Delta, in NE Siberia) considered inseparable from tundrae. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. h. psammodromus Salomonsen, 1930 – NE Canada (casual breeder on Ellesmere I and Baffin I) through Greenland to Svalbard, Iceland and Faeroes; winters from SW Europe to W Africa.
  • C. h. hiaticula Linnaeus, 1758 – S Scandinavia to British Is and NW France; winters from British Is S to Africa.
  • C. h. tundrae (Lowe, 1915) – N Scandinavia and N Russia E to Chukotskiy Peninsula, casual breeder also in N Bering Sea on St Lawrence I (USA); winters from Caspian Sea and SW Asia S to S Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–20 cm; 42–78 g; wingspan 48–57 cm. More robust plover than C. dubius; very similar to C. semipalmatus, but lacks basal web between... read more


    Most-frequently heard call, usually given in flight, a mellow whistle “peeee-eew” or “too-eep” (c.... read more


    Along coast on sand or shingle beaches, sandbanks and mudflats, estuaries and, occasionally, rivers... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small crustaceans, molluscs, polychaete worms, isopods, amphipods, various insects (e.g. ants, beetles, flies and their larvae) and... read more


    Lays Apr around North Sea, Jun to mid Jul in Iceland, Jun in N Eurasia and no earlier than fourth week of Jun in NE Greenland. Seasonally... read more


    Migratory. Northernmost birds migrate furthest S, while southernmost breeders are northernmost... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Largest European breeding populations: 30,000–50,000 pairs in Iceland, 10,000–15,000 pairs in Norway, 10,000–20,000... read more

    Recommended citation

    Wiersma, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 1 April 2020).