Family Plovers (Charadriidae)

Least Concern

Wilson's Plover (Charadrius wilsonia)


French: Pluvier de Wilson German: Wilsonregenpfeifer Spanish: Chorlitejo piquigrueso

Charadrius wilsonia


, 1814,

shore of Cape May, New Jersey, USA


Race beldingi sometimes subsumed within nominate. Birds breeding in Bahamas and Greater Antilles sometimes separated as a further subspecies, rufinucha. Population of NE Brazil was recently described as a new race, brasiliensis#R, but name crassirostris, previously synonymized with nominate (and later with cinnamominus), applies to same population and has priority#R#R; brasiliensis is thus a junior synonym of crassirostris. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. w. wilsonia Ord, 1814 – E USA to E Mexico and Belize, Bahamas, Greater Antilles and N Lesser Antilles; winters S to N South America.
  • C. w. beldingi (Ridgway, 1919) – Pacific coast from extreme NW Mexico (Baja California) S to Panama and Ecuador, ranging S locally to C Peru.
  • C. w. cinnamominus (Ridgway, 1919) – coastal N Colombia to French Guiana; also Leeward Antilles, islands off NE Venezuela, S Lesser Antilles (the Grenadines and Grenada) and Trinidad.
  • C. w. crassirostris Spix, 1825 – coast of NE Brazil from Amapá to Bahia.
  • Descriptive notes

    16·5–20 cm; 45·2–80 g; wingspan 36 cm. Distinctive plover with large, thick black bill. Female has black of breastband and forecrown replaced with... read more


    Most-frequently heard calls a short emphatic “pit!”, a softer “dik” or doubled “di-dik”, a trilled... read more


    Strictly coastal, occurring on barren or nearly barren sandy beaches and sandbars, preferring... read more

    Food and feeding

    Apparently mainly fiddler crabs (from observations in Texas, Panama and Venezuela, constituting up to 98·6% of diet in last-named... read more


    Eggs mainly found Apr to early Jul, including re-nests after first fails, over most of N of range S to Venezuela and French Guiana (peak... read more


    Partial migrant, with partially overlapping breeding and winter range. Nominate race migrates S to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Few population estimates available, although has been suggested that total population in North America is c. 6000, including c. 360... read more

    Recommended citation

    Wiersma, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Wilson's Plover (Charadrius wilsonia). 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 21 February 2020).