The Greater Sand Plover is a medium-sized (length: 22–25 cm; weight 75–100 g) brown-and-white plover. Sexes differ when in breeding plumage, but are inseparable when in non-breeding plumage; juveniles are also separable from adults. In breeding plumage, the male has a grey-brown crown and nape with a pale chestnut tinge, and a chestnut hindneck and sides of neck; the rest of the upperparts are pale grey-brown, with rufous edges to the feathers which impart a slightly scaled appearance, white sides of the rump and uppertail-coverts, and the tail has a blackish-brown subterminal band. In flight the upperwings feature blackish flight feathers and primary coverts with a narrow white trailing edge to the innerwing and a prominent white wing-bar; the inner wing coverts are grey brown, concolorous with most of the upperparts. The face has a black band across the upper forehead, and is white on the lower forehead; a black stripe runs back from the bill, widening to form a black mask across the eyes and ear coverts, and joins the narrow black band on the upper forehead. The chin and throat are white, bordered by the chestnut of the sides of the neck; there is a broad chestnut band across the upper breast (concolorous with the sides of the neck), and this sometimes has a narrow dark band on its upper edge; the rest of the underparts are white. The underwing is white with a narrow, dusky trailing edge. The bill is black; the eyes dark brown; and the legs and feet are pale greenish grey. The female appears similar except that the mask and the frontal band is dark grey-brown, not black; the chestnut of the crown, nape and neck are paler than the male; and there is never a black margin to the breast band. In non-breeding plumage, birds differ from breeding plumage by lacking black and chestnut plumage, being replaced by grey-brown; and they develop a broad white supercilium, concolorous with the white forehead. Juvenile birds appear similar to non-breeding adults, but the feathers of the upperparts have narrow buff fringes and indistinct dark streaking and subterminal bands, and there may be a buff tinge to the face, and grey-brown patches at the sides of the breast, extending as a wash across the breast in some. The Greater Sand Plover is gregarious during the non-breeding season, when it occurs in flocks, sometimes comprising up to several hundred birds, often with other shorebirds, especially the Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus), though the two species usually remain segregated when roosting with one another.
Greater Sand Plover |
Status: Vulnerable on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Charadrius leschenaultii
Climate change Global warming and associated changes in sea level are likely to have a long term impact on the breeding; staging and non breeding grounds of migratory shorebirds (Harding et al. 2007).
Climate change projections for Australia include the likelihood of increased temperatures and rising sea levels with more frequent and or intense extreme climate events which may result in species loss and habitat degradation (Chambers et al. 2005).