Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)


French: Pluvier kildir German: Keilschwanz-Regenpfeifer Spanish: Chorlitejo culirrojo

Charadrius vociferus


, 1758,

South Carolina, USA


Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. v. vociferus Linnaeus, 1758 – SE Alaska, S Canada, USA and Mexico, also very locally S to Panama; winters S to NW South America.
  • C. v. ternominatus Bangs & Kennard, 1920 – Bahamas, Greater Antilles, Virgin Is.
  • C. v. peruvianus (Chapman, 1920) – W Ecuador#R, Peru and extreme NW Chile.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–28 cm; 72–121 g; wingspan 59–63 cm. Distinctive large plover with double blackish breastband and long tail; bright orange-brown rump and uppertail; brown... read more


    Quite vocal, including at night. Calls include several strident nasal piping notes, such as “deee... read more


    Open fields and flats with short vegetation (typically < 1 cm tall), not necessarily near water... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, mainly beetles and flies, also grasshoppers, crickets, caterpillars, dragonflies, etc.; millipedes, worms, snails, spiders,... read more


    Most information comes from USA and Canada. Eggs found mid Mar to early Jun in S, and mid Apr to mid Jul in N, with autumn nests, as late... read more


    Races ternominatus and peruvianus believed to be resident. Nominate migratory,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population perhaps 2,000,000 birds, with figure of 100,000 individuals suggested for Canada, where densities of up to c. 13... read more

    Recommended citation

    Wiersma, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus). 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 7 April 2020).