Wild Harris

Ringed Plover

 Ringed Plover 1 CReddick.jpgRinged Plover    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

The ringed plover looks a bit like a minister with its white neck collar!

It always looks alert and busy. It moves in short runs, stopping to pick up food, then runs on again.

Ringed Plover 3 CReddick.jpgRinged Plover    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

They nest on the machair, or on the edge of the beach. The adult bird on the nest is very camouflaged. If a dog, or a human, approaches the nest they try to distract them away by pretending to have a broken wing. Or they may fan out their tail and squeal like a mouse!

Ringed Plover 4 CReddick.jpgRinged Plover Eggs in Nest   (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

They usually lay four speckled eggs, and when the young hatch they leave the nest almost immediately. If you are lucky enough to see ringed plover chicks they look very comical on their long spindly legs – in fact the legs don’t look strong enough to carry their body. But they can run quite quickly – they need to be able to escape from predators.

Ringed Plover 2 CReddick.jpgRinged Plover Chick    (Photo: Cliff Reddick)

When the chick is a bit bigger, it is brown with white underneath, but you can already see the white collar that it will have when it is an adult.

by Alison Tyler