Grey Plover

Scientific name: Pluvialis squatarola

Did you know: Grey Plovers are unique in their two-stage feather replacement, moulting some before and some after their migration!

What Do Grey Plovers Look Like? (how to identify them)

The Grey Plover is an eye-catching bird known for its remarkable transformation between seasons

In summer, it boasts a dramatic look with silver and black spotted upperparts, and a striking black face, neck, and belly. Come winter, it adopts a more subtle appearance, shedding its black feathers for a browny-grey plumage. 

In both seasons, this bird displays a white rump and distinctive black ‘armpits’ in flight. Grey Plovers are known for their upright stance and sudden stops while feeding.

Differences Between Male And Female Grey Plovers

The main difference between the sexes is more prominent in their summer plumage. Males typically have a more vivid black belly, while females may show a slightly less intense colouration.

What Do Grey Plovers Eat?

Grey Plovers have a diet consisting mainly of shellfish and worms. They forage by running and then pausing, often found along coastlines or in tidal areas.

Where Do Grey Plovers Live? (inc. migration info)

Primarily winter visitors to the UK’s coastal estuaries, Grey Plovers breed in the northernmost reaches of Siberia. Some migrate to western Africa for winter, while others make the UK their seasonal home. Their two-stage feather moulting process is unique among birds.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Grey Plovers)

Grey Plovers are not particularly vocal, but they do make a few distinctive sounds. Their call, often heard during feeding or in flight, is a short, melodic whistle.

Fun Grey Plover Facts (kid friendly)

  • Grey Plovers change their feathers twice a year.
  • They can be found in Siberia during breeding season.
  • These birds travel long distances between seasons.
  • Grey Plovers are adept at running and stopping quickly while foraging.
  • In flight, they show unique black ‘armpits’.
  • They have a diet that mainly consists of shellfish and worms.
  • In the UK, Grey Plovers are winter guests.
  • When not breeding, they take on a browny-grey appearance.
  • Grey Plovers have a white rump that is noticeable in flight.
  • They are often seen in small groups, especially during high tide.

Grey Plover Images

image coming soon Submit Image
Male
image coming soon Submit Image
Female
image coming soon Submit Image
Hatchling
image coming soon Submit Image
Nestling
image coming soon Submit Image
Chick
image coming soon Submit Image
Fledgling
image coming soon Submit Image
Juvenile

Facts About The Grey Plover

Diet: Shellfish and worms.
Bird Family: Plovers
Length: 28cm
Wingspan: 77cm
Weight: 240g
Scientific Name: Pluvialis squatarola

The Grey Plover Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December