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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Marshbirds and Shorebirds of North Dakota


Family Charadriidae

Plovers are small, plump-bodied shorebirds with relatively large eyes, short thick bills, and stubby necks. The majority of these birds either live or breed along coastal beaches, open prairie, arctic tundra, and alkali wetlands. Plovers have exceptional camouflage and are often heard before they are seen. All plovers use the 'broken wing' or distraction display to lead intruders away from their eggs or young. Members of this family that nest in North Dakota include the killdeer and piping plover. The blackbellied plover, American golden plover, and semipalmated plover may be observed during seasonal migrations. The Drift Prairie and Missouri Coteau are the two best regions to view plovers.

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