Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Critically Endangered

Southern Red-breasted Plover (Charadrius obscurus)


French: Pluvier roux German: Berg-Maoriregenpfeifer Spanish: Chorlito maorí de Isla Sur
Other common names: Red-breasted Plover, Red-breasted Dotterel, New Zealand Plover, New Zealand Dotterel (when lumped with C. aquilonius)

Charadrius obscurus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Dusky Sound, South Island, New Zealand


Occasionally placed in Pluvialis, or this species and C. aquilonius united in Pluviorhynchus. Has alternatively been linked with C. bicinctus. Hitherto considered conspecific with C. aquilonius (which see). Monotypic.


Stewart I, New Zealand. Formerly widespread in South I, but now only post-breeding flocks at S tip#R.

Descriptive notes

26–28 cm; 147–179 g; wingspan 46–50 cm. Extent of reddish chestnut coloration on underparts very variable; bill often appears uptilted at tip. Sexes alike,... read more


Rather silent. Presumably similar to C. aquilonius, but no specific mention in literature... read more


Breeds inland, on exposed hilltops above 300 m, except formerly at Mason Bay, Stewart I, where a... read more

Food and feeding

Molluscs, insects, amphipods, crabs, small fish (Rhombosolea sp.) and also earthworms. Feeds in typical plover style; occasionally... read more


Lays probably c. 1 month later than C. aquilonius, but season not well known. Monogamous on long-term basis, with pair-bond held... read more


Leaves inland breeding areas for coast; juveniles often dispersive, some wintering on S coast of... read more

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. Until 19th century widespread, but has declined considerably in range and numbers during past 150 years, first noted by 1880s, with predation by feral... read more

Recommended citation

Wiersma, P., Kirwan, G.M., Boesman, P. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Southern Red-breasted Plover (Charadrius obscurus). 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 27 February 2020).