Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Sandplover (Charadrius mongolus)


French: Pluvier de Mongolie German: Mongolenregenpfeifer Spanish: Chorlitejo mongol chico

Charadrius mongolus


, 1776,

saltlakes towards Mongolian border = Kulusutay, probably on Onon River, Siberia


Subspecies name stegmanni is a replacement for litoralis, latter name being invalid, as preoccupied. C Asian and Himalayan populations represented by relatively distinctive race atrifrons, treated by some#R as a separate species: mongolus has white forehead (with narrow black dividing line) and very narrow black line dividing white throat from peach-coloured breast, whereas atrifrons has black forehead and no black line between throat and breast; on many specimens in NHMUK, however, there is much black in forehead of mongolus so that white is significantly reduced, and there are spots of white in forehead of some atrifrons. Five subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. pamirensis (Richmond, 1896) – W Tien Shan, Pamirs and Karakoram to W Kunlun Shan; winters S & E Africa to W India.
  • C. m. atrifrons Wagler, 1829 – Lesser Sandplover – Himalayas and S Tibetan Plateau; winters India to Sumatra.
  • C. m. schaeferi Meyer de Schauensee, 1937 – E Tibet N to S Mongolia; winters Thailand to Greater Sundas.
  • C. m. mongolus Pallas, 1776 – Mongolian Sandplover – inland E Siberia and Russian Far East; winters from Taiwan to Wallacea and Australia, a few birds reaching New Zealand.
  • C. m. stegmanni Portenko, 1939 – NE Siberia from Chukotskiy Peninsula S to Kamchatka, N Kuril Is and Commander Is; winters S Ryukyu Is and Taiwan to Australia.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–21 cm; 39–110 g; wingspan 45–58 cm. Black eyepatch, broad rufous-red breastband and hindneck collar; legs typically dark grey. Very similar to C.... read more


    Most-frequently heard call a short, hard “drrrit” (reminiscent of Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria... read more


    In breeding season, occurs above or beyond treeline, mainly in mountains at altitudes up to 5500 m... read more

    Food and feeding

    Rather few data available. In non-breeding habitats, takes insects; crustaceans, such as crabs and amphipods; molluscs, particularly... read more


    Laying generally late May to mid-Jun, but from mid May in pamirensis. Density of pamirensis c. 1 pair/km²; rarely 3... read more


    Migratory. Four groups definable, migrating to different winter quarters, although vagrants of one... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Population of pamirensis estimated at 30,000–50,000 birds, with 28,000 estimated wintering along Saudi Arabian Gulf... read more

    Recommended citation

    Wiersma, P., Kirwan, G.M., Christie, D.A. & Boesman, P. (2020). Lesser Sandplover (Charadrius mongolus). 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 26 February 2020).