Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus)


French: Pluvier à tête rousse German: Rotkopf-Regenpfeifer Spanish: Chorlitejo capirrojo

Charadrius ruficapillus


, 1821,

New South Wales, Australia


Closely related to C. marginatus, C. alexandrinus, C. dealbatus, C. nivosus and C. javanicus, and all have on occasion been considered conspecific. Monotypic.


Australia, mainly avoiding arid interior; Tasmania; Timor#R and possibly Roti I#R.

Descriptive notes

14–16 cm; 27–54 g; wingspan 27–34 cm. Small, slim plover with short white supercilium and no white on hindneck; black eyestripe, lores, frontal bar and... read more


Rather silent. Most-frequently heard calls a short fairly soft “pit” or harder “prit”, sometimes in... read more


Coastal habitats, especially sandy or shell beaches with muddy or sandy flats nearby, with... read more

Food and feeding

Annelids, molluscs, small crustaceans, marine and terrestrial insects and their larvae, including ants and beetles, and some seeds and... read more


Laying seasonal at coast (Jul–Jan), but at inland wetlands occurs in response to unpredictable rainfall and flooding. Solitary on... read more


Poorly known. Delimitation between breeding and non-breeding distribution very obscure. Birds move... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population c. 95,000 birds; widespread throughout Australia and Tasmania. Small breeding population in Timor-Leste, where first... read more

Recommended citation

Wiersma, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus). 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 23 January 2020).