Killdeer
Charadrius vociferus
Family Charadriidae

The killdeer is among the largest of the American plovers.  It is also the one most often seen inland, where it frequents farms and open fields searching for invertebrate prey.

Identifying Traits (both sexes):

  • Two prominent black breast bands near neck
  • Short neck
  • Brown back
  • White underparts
  • In flight displays a golden orange rump, long tail, and a white wing stripe
  • Chick will have only one black breast band
  • Size: 20-28 cm (8-11")
  • Weight: 75-128 g (2.7-4.5 oz)
   
 
  Adult  
   

Voice: Very noisy, an insistent and piercing kill-deah repeated many times. Also a repeated and rising dee-dee-dee.

Habitat: The killdeer is a common bird of farms, fields, airports, lawns, and will nest on flat rooftops.

Range: The Killdeer can be found throughout the continental United States

Interesting Facts: Like many plovers, the Killdeer utilizes the broken-wing act, in which it pretends to have a broken wing and runs haphazardly, in order to lure predators away from its nest. Because of its tolerance for human-used habitats, such as farms, the Killdeer must often protect its nest from cows and horses that threaten to trample its eggs. In these cases the Killdeer will puff itself up, place its tail over its head, and charge the animal in order to get it to change its course.

   
 
 

 

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