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Ringed plover

What am I?

The ringed plover is a small, dumpy, short-legged wading bird. It is brownish grey above and whitish below. It has an orange bill, tipped with black, orange legs and a black-and-white pattern on its head and breast. In flight, it shows a broad, white wing-stripe.

They breed on beaches around the coast, but they have also now begun breeding inland in sand and gravel pits and former industrial sites. Many UK birds live here all year round, but birds from Europe winter in Britain, and birds from Greenland and Canada pass through on migration.


How to spot them

Larger and chunkier than the little ringed plover, the ringed plover has an orange bill with a black tip, orange legs and no yellow ring around the eye. Sandy-brown above and white below, it has a black chest-band and black bridle markings on its head. When it flies, it displays a broad, white wingbar.

Where to see them

A common resident right around the coast that can also be found breeding on inland flooded gravel pits and reservoirs.

Conservation status

The ringed plover is red listed in the UK (Opens in a new window) .

Did you know?

Ringed plovers that nest as far away as Greenland and Canada fly through the UK on migration.