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Caspian Plover (Charadrius asiaticus)

It is a regal plover, with a gentle, dovelike demeanor. Non-breeding adults and immatures birds appear to be greyish-brown with dull edgings on the upperpart feathers. During the breeding period, males become striking with a whitish face and belly, divided by a wide chestnut band across its chest. Breeding females sport a plainer brown plumage, with a rusty-brown version of the chest band. This bird thrives in open areas near water during the breeding season but veers away from these habitats in winter.

Read further to know more about the Caspian Plover.

What is a Caspian Plover?

Caspian Plover is wading birds belonging to the family Charadriidae. Its genus name “Charadrius” was derived from a Late Latin word pertaining to a yellowish bird cited in the fourth-century Bible. This bird species has a wide range, breeding in central and western Asia, and wintering southward to eastern and southern Africa.

Its seven levels of classification are as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Charadriiformes

Family: Charadriidae

Genus: Charadrius

Species: C. asiaticus

Caspian Plover Physical Description

Caspian Plovers are medium-sized plovers, growing from 6.6 to 7.8 inches, and weighing 60 to 90 grams, with a wingspan of 21.6 to 23.6 inches. During their summer plumage, males sport a grayish-brown back, a whitish face and belly, with a broad chestnut breast band. In winter, the breast stripe becomes grayish-brown. Their bill is long, slender, and black. The eyes are darkish circled by a grayish eye-ring. Long legs and feet are dirty yellow.

Where can they be spotted?

Caspian Plovers breed in western and central Asia in the area of the Caspian Sea. Their summer habitats include desert verges, saltpans, steppes, saline soils, surrounded by sparse vegetation. In winter, these birds move to eastern and southern Africa and prefer coastal dunes, grasslands, dry floodplains, dry marshes, and cultivated areas.

Interesting Facts You Should Know About the Caspian Plover

Caspian Plovers feeds primarily on insects and larvae present in arable pastures and grasslands. The food items it consumes include ants, grasshoppers, beetles, termites, flies, and small snails. Occasionally, it may eat seeds from grasses. These birds forage like its plover cousins, picking prey from the ground.

Caspian Plovers constructs nest on shallow depression on the ground surrounded by scanty vegetation, lined with small stones and grass. The egg-laying season happens from April to May each year, with female Caspian Plover typically lays a clutch of 3 eggs. Both sexes incubate the eggs for about 30 days. The female does the incubation duties during the day while the male takes over at night.

Eggs will soon hatch from early May to June. Broods will begin to fly from early June to August. Since nest are situated on the ground, chicks are vulnerable to predation. Parents often perform “distraction displays,” acting injured to lure predators away. After the breeding period, these birds will fly in flocks consists of five to ten birds and move to their wintering range.

Caspian Plovers have a vast range, but their population size may be shrinking due to the destruction of its breeding habitats. Nevertheless, the decline doesn’t reach the thresholds, and they are currently classified as Least Concern under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The bird species is also covered by the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA).

WILDLIFE PARKS AND RESERVES WHERE THIS SPECIES IS FOUND:

BOTSWANA

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Chobe National Park

Linyanti Swamp

Makgadikgadi Pan

Mashatu Game Reserve

Okavango Delta

Moremi Game Reserve

Savute

 

SOUTH AFRICA

Kalahari Gemsbok National Park

Kruger National Park

Madikwe Game Reserve

 

NAMIBIA

Caprivi Region

Etosha National Park

Namib-Naukluft National Park

 

 

ZAMBIA

Kafue

Lechwe Plains

Lower Zambezi

South Luangwa

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

 

ZIMBABWE

Gona-re-Zhou

Hwange

Lake Kariba

Mana Pools

Matobo Hills

Victoria Falls

Caspian Plover
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