Lesser sand plover (Charadrius mongolus)

loading
Lesser sand plover ssp. pamirensis adult molting into non-breeding plumage
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Lesser sand plover fact file

Lesser sand plover description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderCharadriiformes
FamilyCharadriidae
GenusCharadrius (1)

The lesser sand plover is a small wading shorebird with greyish-brown upperparts, a white abdomen and throat, and a black forehead. During the breeding season, the feathers on the top of the head and on the breast turn a rusty red, and the sides of the cheeks become black. A thin, black line divides the red breast from the white neck, a feature that, together with its smaller size, helps to distinguish this species from the closely related greater sand plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) (3) (4).

Also known as
Mongolian dotterel, Mongolian plover, Mongolian sand dotterel, Mongolian sand plover, sand plover.
French
Pluvier de Mongolie.
Size
Length: 19 - 21 cm (2)
Wingspan: 45 - 58 cm (2)
Weight
39 - 79 g (2)
Top

Lesser sand plover biology

The diet of the lesser sand plover includes insects, crustaceans and molluscs, as well as marine and annelid worms, although it has also been observed eating seeds (5) (6) (7). Foraging either alone or in small, scattered flocks, the lesser sand plover moves about in a characteristic series of short, quick bursts, frequently pausing to lunge at prey (3). During the non-breeding season, flocks of up to 100 or more may form (7).

The lesser sand plover nests in a scrape on bare ground, in bare sand or shingle, sometimes beside bushes or large stones. It has also been known to nest within a cattle footprint (3) (7). The female typically lays three eggs, but it is usually the male that undertakes most of the responsibility for incubating the eggs for the following 22 to 24 days, and is also the primary carer of the young after hatching (3) (5). At the end of the breeding season, migratory flocks form, and depart the breeding grounds from July, returning again from the following February. However, many non-breeding individuals remain in the wintering grounds year-round (5) (7).

Top

Lesser sand plover range

The lesser sand plover typically breeds in eastern Siberia, southern Mongolia, western China and the Himalayas (3), although it has also been known to breed in Alaska (4) (5). It is a migratory species, spending the winter in eastern and southern Africa, the Middle East and Arabian Peninsula, India, South East Asia and Australia (3) (4), and on very rare occasions in western Europe (4).

Top

Lesser sand plover habitat

During the breeding season, the lesser sand plover inhabits tundra, steppe and deserts, where it nests on bare ground (3) (4). This species winters on tidal flats, sandy beaches, estuaries, mud-flats and streams (4).

Top

Lesser sand plover status

The lesser sand plover is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

Top

Lesser sand plover threats

The main threat to the lesser sand plover is the loss and degradation of its preferred habitats, as a result of residential, agricultural and tourism developments (6) (7). In certain areas, its habitat may also be negatively impacted by pollution, an invasion of weeds or pests, or an increase of silt in the water, all of which may potentially affect the availability of the lesser sand plover’s prey (8). However, the species currently remains widespread and numerous, and is not believed to be at immediate risk of extinction (7).

Top

Lesser sand plover conservation

The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) was set up specifically to help conserve species that, like the lesser sand plover, are dependent on wetlands for at least part of the year. The actions taken by countries participating in this agreement include implementing legal measures to protect the habitat of waterbirds (9).

In Australia, the lesser sand plover is likely to benefit from a number of projects aimed at the conservation of migratory waterbirds, including Shorebird 2020, which aims to monitor shorebird populations at important sites throughout Australia. The Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds also outlines some of the various activities and initiatives being undertaken (8).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Top

Find out more

To find out more about the conservation of this and other waterbirds see:

Top

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

This species information was authored as part of the ARKive and Universities Scheme.
Top

Glossary

Annelid worms
Segmented worms. Includes earthworms, sandworms and leeches.
Crustaceans
Diverse group of arthropods (a phylum of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton) characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (parts of the mouthparts used for handling and processing food) and two pairs of maxillae (appendages used in eating, which are located behind the mandibles). Includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, slaters, woodlice and barnacles.
Incubate
To keep eggs warm so that development is possible.
Molluscs
A diverse group of invertebrates, mainly marine, that have one or all of the following; a horny, toothed ribbon in the mouth (the radula), a shell covering the upper surface of the body, and a mantle or mantle cavity with a type of gill. Includes snails, slugs, shellfish, octopuses and squid.
Steppe
A vast expanse of treeless grassland, characterised by low rainfall.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2009)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. O’Brien, M., Crossley, R. and Karlson, K. (2006) The Shorebird Guide. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York.
  3. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service: Threatened Species Information - Lesser Sand Plover (November, 2009)
    http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/nature/tsprofileLesserSandplover.pdf
  4. Hayman, P., Marchant, J. and Prater, T. (1986) Shore Birds: Identification Guide to Waders of the World. Christopher Helm Publishers, London.
  5. Delany, S., Scott, D., Dodman, T. and Stroud, D. (2009) An Atlas of Wader Populations. Wetlands International, The Netherlands.
  6. Smith, P. (1991) The Biology and Management of Waders in NSW. Species Management Report Number 9, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.
  7. BirdLife International (November, 2009)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=3138&m=0
  8. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. (2009) Charadrius mongolus. In: Species Profile and Threats Database. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra. Available at:
    http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=879
  9. Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (November, 2009)
    http://www.unep-aewa.org
X
Close

Image credit

Lesser sand plover ssp. pamirensis adult molting into non-breeding plumage  
Lesser sand plover ssp. pamirensis adult molting into non-breeding plumage

© Satyendra Sharma

Satyendra Sharma
satiesharma@gmail.com
http://satie.co.in

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Lesser sand plover (Charadrius mongolus) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is featured in Jewels of the UAE, which showcases biodiversity found in the United Arab Emirates in association with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog RSS