Killdeer

Common Name
Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Family
Genus
Species
killdeer
Animalia
Chordata
Vertebrata
Aves
Ciconiiformes
Charadriidae
Charadrius
vociferus
killdeer
Natural History

Family Charadriidae (plover) 64 species worldwide with 14 in North America. Plovers are plump shorebirds found along shores and grasslands and agricultural fields. Killdeer eat mostly insects with supplemental invertebrates and a small percentage of weed seeds.

Gregarious except when nesting, flocks are active during the day and can be heard calling at night. Killdeer winter in southern North America down to central America, northern South America, the Caribbean, and Chile. Breeds throughout North America from central Alaska south.

The male builds the nest in the open with an extended view around. The preferred nest site are patches of gravel. The nest is itself open with little or no vegetation, but with camouflaging stones and pebbles. Occasionally lined with grass or local materials but often unlined. Nests are often associated with human habitation. The males show nest site tenacity. The pair is monogamous with mates often retained from season to season.

Four eggs are laid with a range of 3 to 5 observed. The eggs are 37 mm long, buff colored with blackish-brown markings. Both the male and female incubate the eggs for 24 to 28 days. The young are well-developed precocial meaning that they hatch down covered and able to forage for their own food. After 25 days the young fledge while receiving care from both parents. Two broods per year often.

Why this species? These are the birds calling in the morning outside our classroom door.