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Bird (Charadrius vociferus) that frequents grassy mudflats, pastures, and fields. Its name is suggestive of its loud, insistent whistle. It is about 10 in. (25 cm) long and has a brown back, a white belly, and two black breast bands. Killdeers breed throughout North America and in northwestern South America. They migrate only to escape snow, returning before most songbirds. They eat beetles, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and other insects. To protect their young from predators, killdeers will feign injury and flutter awkwardly away from the nest, luring predators with the promise of an easy kill.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on killdeer, visit Britannica.com.