One of my favorites! The Killdeer. What a character. This bird is one that can be watched for a long period. They offer a lot of humor especially if you stumble upon one near their nest. Acting as if it has a broken wing to draw the oncoming predator to it rather than it’s eggs or young. A very quick bird in flight. Almost impossible to photograph during flight. And it’s beautiful markings make it easy to identify.
Size & Shape
Killdeer have the characteristic large, round head, large eye, and short bill of all plovers. They are especially slender and lanky, with a long, pointed tail and long wings.
Brownish-tan on top and white below. The white chest is barred with two black bands, and the brown face is marked with black and white patches. The bright orange-buff rump is conspicuous in flight.
Killdeer spend their time walking along the ground or running ahead a few steps, stopping to look around, and running on again. When disturbed they break into flight and circle overhead, calling repeatedly. Their flight is rapid, with stiff, intermittent wingbeats.
Look for Killdeer on open ground with low vegetation (or no vegetation at all), including lawns, golf courses, driveways, parking lots, and gravel-covered roofs, as well as pastures, fields, sandbars and mudflats. This species is one of the least water-associated of all shorebirds.