Adult with winter plumage. Photographed in Holmes Beach, Florida.
Out of the breeding season, the Gray Plover is very similar to the White Plover, I had trouble identifying it. The basic differences are: the Gray Plover is larger in size (no black feathers on the shoulders), has larger eyes, a small white stripe well above the eyes, the beak is short and slightly thicker.
In the breeding season it is covered with black feathers on the neck, chest, belly and under the eyes. The head is covered with white feathers and the wings are transformed into a checkerboard with black and white feathers. It becomes a very colorful bird.
Always alert, it is the sentinel of the coastal birds. Alert with alarm calls to any strange presence within your area. It is very sensitive to bustle and prefers little crowded beaches.
He is a great traveler, spending the winter on the coast and estuaries of America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. In the breeding season it migrates towards the dry tundra of the Arctic: the coast of northern Alaska, Canada and Russia.
It feeds on terrestrial insects, invertebrates, polychaetes, bivalves and crustaceans. He runs along the edge of the sea and suddenly stops to catch his prey with a sharp beak.
The first days of June are found nesting among the low vegetation of the tundra. The couple builds the nest with twigs, leaves and boulders; they are lined with moss and lichen. Both incubate, from 26 to 27 days, 3 to 4 pink, sometimes greenish eggs, covered in dark brown dots. The chicks begin to feed themselves shortly after birth. They are ready to fly at four weeks and reach adulthood by the third year of life.