Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Jeff Nadler
Photo Copyright Jeff Nadler

The semipalmated plover, Charadrius semipalmatus, breeds on tundra and other barren areas in northern Alaska and Canada, and migrates for winter to Central America, South America, Mexico, and coastal areas of the United States. The species is an uncommon migrant through Utah during the spring and fall, and is often found in mixed flocks with snowy plovers as it passes through the state. The semipalmated plover is generally found near water on mud flats, beaches, flooded fields, and marshes.

The nest is often a shallow depression scraped in the ground, although some pairs nest on moss beds. A clutch of three or four eggs is laid by the female and then incubated by both parents for 23 to 25 days. Both parents tend the young, which are able to fly about one month after hatching. Semipalmated plovers eat insects, worms, and other invertebrates that are found along shore-lines, in mud flats, or in upland areas near water.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Peterson, R. T., and V. M. Peterson. 1990. A field guide to western birds, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 432 pp.