Killdeer

Scientific Name:

Charadrius vociferus

Type:

Bird

Habitat:

ommonly found near water but are quite adaptable and will forage in grassy areas including large lawns and plowed fields

Range:

Killdeer can be found throughout North America, and into Central and South America as well

Status:

Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

Killdeers are wading birds about the size of a slender robin. They are approximately 8 to 11 inches in length with a tan backs and long tails, white chests, and two distinct black bands around their upper chests and necks. They are easily recognized by their distinct and loud call which may sound like "kill-deer", "kill-dee", or "dee-dee-dee". Another common characteristic of killdeers is that they will perform a “broken-wing” act to lure any perceived threat away from their nest and young. Killdeers are rather common and prefer grassy areas, anything from the shores of a pond or a slow creek to a playing field, or lawn. They are also opportunistic foragers and will consume insects, snails, earthworms and aquatic larvae, and leftover seeds in agricultural areas.

Fast Facts:

  • Killdeer chicks can walk as soon as their feathers dry after hatching. They are buff colored downy puffs that will forage for their own food. Their parents do care for them, but they feed themselves.

  • Because killdeers are so noisy (even at night) they were given the nicknames of Chattering Plover and the Noisy Ploveravers by early naturalists.

  • While the broken-wing act may deter predators, Killdeer also need to protect their young against horses and cows. To protect their nest and their young from large grazing animals the killdeer will fluff itself up, put its tail over its head and run toward the hoofed animal hoping the bigger animal will change its direction.

  • Since killdeer enjoy grassy areas near water, they may be commonly found in any grassy park with a nearby water feature.

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Regina Hockett (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

June 17, 2021, 8:25:30 PM