Plovers (Charadriidae)

Plovers are wading birds; their lives are largely spent near water, and they are often seen on Arctic shores. Most plovers range in colour from brown, olive and grey to black or white, but all four species that occur in the Canadian Arctic alternate to a black and white breeding plumage, regardless of their out-of-season colouration. The brightest patterning is only seen during courtship displays, in flight, or on the under parts of the birds which allows even the most brilliantly marked plover to be camouflaged when incubating eggs. Plovers have straight bills of moderate length, plump bodies, long wings, and legs that are mostly bare. Plovers have much shorter, sturdier bills than sandpipers; this prevents them from feeding in deeper water, but it enables them to probe harder ground to retrieve their invertebrate prey. They are strong flyers, but can also escape predators by running swiftly along the ground. Like most wading birds, plovers nest on the ground in a shallow scrape formed by turning movements of the chest and belly. All northern species of plover are migratory