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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Charadriidae

Plovers are a widely distributed family of wading birds with 64-66 species.

The family Charadriidae is sometimes further divided to give the subfamily Charadriinae (plovers and lapwings).

The plovers are found throughout the world, and are characterised by relatively short bills. They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipe do.

Food is insects, worms or other invetebrates, depending on habitat, which are obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups.

Although they are conventionally divided into a number of genera, most of this group are fairly readily recognised as plovers. There has been a tendency to rename some of this group to bring them into line with their relatives. For example Solitary Lapwing was called Solitary Plover until recently.


  • Charadrius (sand plovers or true plovers. Mainly small species).
    • C. alexandrinus (snowy or Kentish plover)
    • C. asiaticus (Caspian plover)
    • C. dubius (little ringed plover)
    • C. hiaticula (greater ringed plover: Old World)
    • C. leschenaultii (greater sand plover)
    • C. melodus (piping plover: Can, US)
    • C. mongolus (Mongolian plover)
    • C. montanus (mountain plover)
    • C. morinellus (Eurasian dotterel)
    • C. nivosus (Kentish plover: S Am)
    • C. novaeseelandiae (shore plover: NZ)
    • C. pecuarius (Kittlitz's sandplover)
    • C. peronii (Malaysian plover)
    • C. placidus (long-billed plover)
    • C. rubricollis (Australian plover)
    • C. semipalmatus (semipalmated plover)
    • C. thoracicus (Madagascar plover)
    • C. venustus (chestnut-banded sand plover: Africa)
    • C. veredus (Oriental plover)
    • C. vociferus (killdeer: Americas)
    • C. wilsonia (Wilson's plover)
  • Vanellus (lapwings, mainly large, colourful species).
    • V. albiceps (white-headed plover: Africa)
    • V. chilensis (southern lapwing)
    • V. cinereus (grey-headed lapwing: Asia)
    • V. coronatus (crowned lapwing)
    • V. crassirostris (long-toed lapwing: Africa)
    • V. duvaucelii (river lapwing or spur-winged lapwing)
    • V. indicus (red-wattled lapwing)
    • V. miles (masked lapwing)
    • V. spinosus (spur-winged lapwing)
    • V. tricolor (banded plover: Aus)
    • V. vanellus (lapwing, or northern lapwing)
  • Pluvialis (typically large dumpy species)
    • P. aegyptius (crocodile-bird or Egyptian plover)
    • P. apricaria (greater golden plover)
    • P. dominica (lesser or American golden plover)
    • P. fulva (Pacific golden plover)
    • P. obscura (New Zealand dotterel)
    • P. squatarola (grey or black-bellied plover)
  • Pluvianellus
    • P. socialis (Magellanic plover)
  • Anitibyx (blacksmith plover)
  • Anarhynchus
    • A. frontalis (New Zealand wrybill)
  • Chettusia
    • C. gregaria (sociable lapwing)
    • C. leucura (white-tailed lapwing)
  • Lobivanellus
    • L. indicus (red-wattled lapwing)
  • Hoplopterus
    • H. spinosus (spur-winged lapwing)
  • Microsarcops
    • M. cinerea (gray-headed lapwing)

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