Oriental plover (Charadrius veredus)

Also known as: Asiatic dotterel, Asiatic sandplover, eastern dotterel, eastern long-legged sand plover, eastern sand plover, eastern sandplover, greater Oriental plover, Oriental dotterel
Synonyms: Charadrius asiaticus veredus
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderCharadriiformes
FamilyCharadriidae
GenusCharadrius (1)
SizeLength: 22 - 25 cm (2) (3)
Wingspan: 46 - 53 cm (2) (3)
Weight74 - 153 g (4)
Top facts

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

The Oriental plover (Charadrius veredus) is an elegant, medium-sized plover species with long, yellowish legs (3) (5) (6) (7) and a distinctive upright posture (6). Its neck and wings are also long (3) (6), and it has a fine, tapering beak (6).

The male Oriental plover has distinctive breeding plumage, with a white head and neck, brown on the back of the crown, and a reddish-brown band on the breast which is bordered below by a black line (2) (3) (6). The rest of the underparts are white, with brown undersides to the wings, while the upperparts, tail and upper sides of the wings are dark brown (3) (5) (6).

In contrast to the male, the female Oriental plover has a brownish band across the breast, which lacks a black border, and has a browner head with a whitish forehead, chin and throat and a whitish line above the eye (2) (6). Outside of the breeding season, the male and female Oriental plover are similar in appearance, both resembling the breeding female. However, compared to the breeding female, the non-breeding male and female Oriental plover have a paler brown breast band, a more buffy or pale brown face and neck, and sometimes pale fringes to the feathers on the upperparts (2) (5). Both sexes have a black bill and brown eyes (3) (5) (6), and are similar in size (4).

The juvenile Oriental plover resembles the non-breeding adults, but has more conspicuous buff edges to the feathers on its upperparts, giving it a scaled appearance (2) (3) (5) (6).

In flight, the Oriental plover utters a sharp, repetitive ‘chip-chip-chip’. It also gives trilling calls, a short, piping ‘klink’ and a stony ‘dzhup’ (3) (6).

The Oriental plover is a migratory species, breeding in Asia and wintering in Australia. Its breeding range extends from southern Siberia, through northern and eastern Mongolia and into north-eastern China, while its wintering range stretches across most of northern Australia (2) (3) (5) (6) (7).

Although it appears to migrate mainly through eastern China, the Oriental plover is also sometimes recorded in Hong Kong, the Korean Peninsula, Japan, the Philippines and parts of Southeast Asia during its migration (2) (3) (5).

During the breeding season, the Oriental plover typically occurs in arid inland areas, such as stony flats (2) (3), dry grasslands (3) (6) and sparsely vegetated plains (5) (6). In its wintering grounds, the Oriental plover occupies a range of habitats, including dry, open grasslands, from clay pans and playing fields to paddocks and lawns. It is also found in recently burnt fields and the bare margins of mudflats, sandbanks and wetlands (2) (5).

The Oriental plover usually feeds among short grass or on stony, bare ground, but also on mudflats or beaches. This species may roost on beaches, muddy areas or dry, open areas during the day (2) (3) (5).

Relatively little is known about the Oriental plover’s diet, but it is believed to feed mainly on insects, including beetles, termites, grasshoppers and bugs (2) (5). It may also eat some snails and seeds (2). The Oriental plover usually feeds in small groups or in larger flocks of hundreds or even thousands of individuals, often mixing with other shorebirds (2) (5). It is believed to feed mainly at night (2) (6), typically foraging by running, stopping and pecking to pick up food, or by probing for it in the substrate (5).

Little is currently known about the breeding behaviour of the Oriental plover. The breeding season of this species runs from April to July, and it breeds in solitary pairs. Only the female Oriental plover tends the young (2) (5). As in the closely related Caspian plover (Charadrius asiaticus), it is likely that the Oriental plover starts breeding at about two years old (5).

The Oriental plover remains abundant and widespread, and is not currently considered to be globally threatened (7). In its Australian wintering grounds, this species usually inhabits areas with little human settlement, where it faces few threats (2) (5). Little is known about potential threats to the Oriental plover in its breeding grounds, but human impacts there are generally thought to be quite low (2).

Although there are no specific threats to the Oriental plover at present, it may, like other migratory wading birds, be potentially affected by habitat loss and degradation on its migration routes. Migratory shorebirds such as the Oriental plover may also be impacted by pollution, the effects of global warming, and disturbance from human recreation activities and development (5).

The Oriental plover is listed under Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), which aims to protect migratory species across their ranges (8). There are currently no conservation actions targeted specifically towards the Oriental plover, but it is included in regular shorebird population surveys in Australia (5), where it is also covered by the Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (9). This plan aims to increase international cooperation for migratory shorebirds, protect important habitats, and increase knowledge of shorebird biology, populations, habitats and threats. It also aims to raise awareness of and increase engagement in shorebird conservation (9).

Other recommended conservation measures for the Oriental plover include identifying and protecting key sites for this species (5). Many of the grasslands that this plover uses in Australia are important pastoral areas, and the potential effects of any changes to current grazing practices need to be better understood (4) (5).

Very little is known about the Oriental plover in its northern breeding grounds, so the species may benefit from further research there (5).

Find out more about the Oriental plover and its conservation:

More information on conservation in Australia:

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

  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2012)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1996) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  3. Brazil, M. (2009) Birds of East Asia. A&C Black Publishers, London.
  4. Branson, N.J.B.A. and Minton, C.D.T. (2006) Measurements, weights and primary wing moult of Oriental plover from north-west Australia. Stilt, 50: 235-241.
  5. Australian Government - Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (2012) Charadrius veredus. In: Species Profile and Threats Database. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra. Available at:
    http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=882
  6. Geering, A., Agnew, L. and Harding, S. (2007) Shorebirds of Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  7. BirdLife International (September, 2012)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=3141
  8. Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (September, 2012)
    http://www.cms.int/
  9. Department of the Environment and Heritage (2006) Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds. Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australian Government, Canberra. Available at:
    http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/migratory/publications/pubs/shorebird-plan.pdf