Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Data Deficient

White-faced Plover (Charadrius dealbatus)


French: Pluvier de Swinhoe German: Indochina-Seeregenpfeifer Spanish: Chorlitejo cariblanco
Other common names: Swinhoe’s Plover.

Ægialites [sic] dealbatus


, 1870,

south coast of China, Taiwan, Hainan


Closely related to C. marginatus, C. alexandrinus, C. nivosus, C. javanicus and C. ruficapillus, all of which have on occasion been considered conspecific. Until recently, before true characters elucidated#R#R, considered conspecific with C. alexandrinus (and also C. nivosus), but, notwithstanding lack of genetic distinctiveness#R, differs when breeding in its larger size, including thicker, blunter-tipped bill, published data#R indicating bill depth at “nail” = 3.8 ± 0.24 vs 3.6 ± 0.57, effect size 0.46 (1); white (not black) lores (2); more extensively white forehead, with black of crown usually reduced (2); brighter and paler upperparts (2); much-reduced black lateral breast patches (ns[1]); rufous-brown of crown not extending onto nape sometimes to divide hindcollar (ns[1]); more white in wingbar (ns[1]); also ecologically, occupying generally sandier, less muddy substrates (1). It differs from C. nivosus by same characters except for lore colour, and shows far less black on ear-coverts (2). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Breeding range uncertain, possibly SE China S from Fujian; winters S to Vietnam, Gulf of Thailand, Malay Peninsula and Sumatra#R.

Descriptive notes

16–17 cm. Small, round-headed, pale-plumaged plover, with white forecrown leading into white supercilium; white throat and underparts, and pale brown-grey upperparts, with... read more


Largely silent during non-breeding period. Poorly documented, but no known differences from C.... read more


Inhabits sandy areas and mudflats, as well as saltpans and (in non-breeding season) reclaimed land... read more

Food and feeding

Very few data on diet, but presumably similar to C. alexandrinus; includes small crabs. Defends feeding territory. Observed... read more


Very little information that can be definitely linked to this species, as opposed to C. alexandrinus nihonensis. However, a nest... read more


Thought to be a migrant breeder in coastal S China (Fujian and Hainan) and SC Vietnam, and a non-... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Data Deficient. Population estimated to be in the order of 100,000 birds, but this estimate seems to have been based on the... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). White-faced Plover (Charadrius dealbatus). 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 24 February 2020).