Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

White-fronted Plover (Charadrius marginatus)


French: Pluvier à front blanc German: Weißstirn-Regenpfeifer Spanish: Chorlitejo frentiblanco
Other common names: White-fronted Sandplover

Charadrius marginatus


, 1818,

Cape Peninsula, South Africa


Probably closest to C. alexandrinus, C. dealbatus, C. nivosus, C. javanicus and C. ruficapillus, and all have on occasion been considered conspecific. Delimitation of races hampered by existence of intergradation and individual variation; some authors consider population from Sudan and Ethiopia to NE South Africa as belonging to race tenellus, and hesperius perhaps not separable from mechowi. Other proposed races, for which evidence too scanty to support recognition, are nigirius (R Niger), subsumed within hesperius, and pons (S Somalia) synonymized with mechowi. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. m. hesperius Bates, 1932 – locally in W Africa E to Nigeria and Cameroon.
  • C. m. mechowi (Cabanis, 1884) – locally in Africa from Gabon E to Ethiopia, S to N Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and N Mozambique.
  • C. m. marginatus Vieillot, 1818 – SW Angola to SW South Africa.
  • C. m. arenaceus Clancey, 1971 – S Mozambique to coasts of S & SW South Africa.
  • C. m. tenellus Hartlaub, 1861 – Madagascar.
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm; nominate 42–55 g, mechowi 27–40 g, tenellus 33–45·5 g. Differs from similar species in always lacking well-defined black or... read more


    Most-frequently heard calls a low-pitched short “pwut” or “prrut”, and a dry trilled “trrrr”. Also... read more


    Sandy seashores and inland along sandy shores of larger rivers and lakes; also rocky coasts,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, such as sandflies, grasshoppers, termites, mosquito pupae and Cheirocephalus larvae; also gastropods, bivalves and... read more


    Lays Feb–Sept from Senegambia to Nigeria (e.g. Apr–Sept in Ghana), mainly May–Jul in E Africa, and somewhat later further... read more


    Sedentary, with some local seasonal movements of immatures, but ringing or other efforts with... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Overall population estimated in early 2000s at 66,000–90,000 individuals, broken down as follows by subpopulation (race): 18,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Wiersma, P., Kirwan, G.M. & Boesman, P. (2020). White-fronted Plover (Charadrius marginatus). 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).