The diet of the red-capped plover includes a range of worms, molluscs, small crustaceans, marine and terrestrial insects, and a small amount of seeds and vegetation (2) (5). This species feeds in typical plover style, running around rapidly and searching for prey by sight (2) (4). It often forages in small groups, but larger flocks numbering into the hundreds may form after the breeding season (2) (3) (4).
In coastal areas, the breeding season of the red-capped plover runs from July to January, but in inland areas it often breeds in response to rainfall (2). Breeding pairs may nest alone or in small, loose colonies (2), with each pair defending a small breeding territory (2) (4).
The red-capped plover’s nest is a shallow scrape in the ground, built on sand, shells, seaweed or mud in areas of bare or sparsely vegetated ground, usually quite close to water. The nest may sometimes be lined with small pebbles, shells, plant material or other debris (2) (3) (5).
The red-capped plover lays between 1 and 3 eggs, which are incubated for 30 to 31 days, mainly by the female (2) (5). Both adults defend the nest and young (5), and if approached by a potential predator they may give a ‘broken wing’ display, feigning injury to lure the predator away from the nest (3). The red-capped plover is known to use water to help regulate the temperature of its eggs, by draping its damp breast feathers over the clutch (3).
The chicks of the red-capped plover are cared for by both adults. The age at which the young birds are able to fly and the age at which they start to breed are not known. This species may potentially live for up to six years (2).