Golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria).—Kenneth W. Fink/Root Resources

Any of about 36 species (family Charadriidae, order Charadriiformes) of plump-breasted shorebirds found almost worldwide. Plovers are 6–12 in. (15–30 cm) long and have long wings, longish legs, a short neck, and a straight, short bill. Many species are plain brown, gray, or sandy above and whitish below. Others, including the golden and black-bellied plovers, are finely patterned above and black below in breeding season. Many species run along the shoreline, snapping up small aquatic invertebrates. They have a melodious whistled call. Both parents incubate the two to five eggs and care for the young. See also killdeer.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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