Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)


French: Pluvier argenté German: Kiebitzregenpfeifer Spanish: Chorlito gris
Other common names: Black-bellied Plover

Tringa Squatarola


, 1758,



Sometimes placed in monospecific genus Squatarola. Has usually been treated as monotypic, but recent study revealed some geographical variation worthy of taxonomic recognition#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. s. squatarola (Linnaeus, 1758) – extreme NE Europe (Kanin Peninsula) E through N Asia (except Wrangel I) to coasts of Chukotka and Anadyrland and to NW North America (W & N Alaska); winters on coasts of W & S Europe, S Africa, S Asia, Indonesia and Australia, rarely New Zealand.
  • P. s. tomkovichi Engelmoer & Roselaar, 1998 – Wrangel I, in Chukchi Sea (off NE Siberia); winters presumably on coasts of E Asia and farther S.
  • P. s. cynosurae (Thayer & Bangs, 1914) – coast and islands of Canadian Arctic; winters along coasts of North and South America.
  • Descriptive notes

    27–31 cm; 165–395 g; wingspan 71–83 cm. In alternate (breeding) plumage sparkling silver upperparts with contrasting black underparts; black axillaries... read more


    Most-frequently heard call away from breeding grounds a plaintive, drawn-out, pure whistle, “... read more


    In Taymyr breeds from polar deserts to forest tundra, but commonest in Arctic tundra subzone.... read more

    Food and feeding

    On tundra, mainly insects and their larvae, such as beetles and Diptera, and other invertebrates; occasionally some grass seeds and stems.... read more


    Lays late May to first half Jun. Monogamous, often for several years. Solitary, with nests not less than 400–500 m apart; breeds in... read more


    Migratory. Departs breeding grounds Jul–Sept; juveniles leave 5–6 weeks after adults;... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Very few estimates of numbers from breeding grounds, except 10,000 and 100,000 pairs in Russia in 1980s, thus most such information... read more

    Recommended citation

    Wiersma, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola). 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 25 February 2020).