New Hampshire PBS
   share this page
NATUREWORKS!
Home     About     Watch     Nature Files     Teachers     Order DVD     Contact

Killdeer - Charadrius vociferus

Characteristics
Range
Habitat
Diet
Life Cycle
Behavior

 Classification

 Phylum:
Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Charadriiformes
 Family: Charadriidae
 Genus: Charadrius


Killdeer

ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern
    Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Todd Mark cc logo
  Characteristics
KilldeerThe killdeer has brown upper feathers and  white undersides. It has a a brown head with a black band between its eyes, white "eyebrows" and black bands around its upper chest. It has a sharp, black bill; long legs and a long tail. Males and females look the same.

  Range

mapThe killdeer is found from Alaska to Newfoundland south throughout the United States and into Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America.


 

  Habitat
KilldeerThe killdeer can be found in open grasslands, wetlands, fields, croplands and pastures, and short-grass prairies. They are often found on sandbars, mudflats and pastures.

  Diet
Insects make up the majority of the killdeer's diet, but they will also eat berries and crustaceans.
  Life Cycle
KilldeerMale killdeers claim nesting territory before selecting a mate. To attract a mate, the male will stand in his territory and make a two-note call for hours at a time. The male may also scrape at the ground and fly over his territory. Once killdeers have mated, the pair will scrape out a nesting site. The female killdeer lays an average of four eggs. Both the male and the female incubate the eggs. It takes about 24-28 days for the eggs to hatch.

KilldeerThe chicks are precocial, that means they can move around and feed themselves shortly after birth. Once the chicks' down dries, the parents will lead them to a feeding area. The chicks stay with their parents until they fledge a month after birth. The killdeer may have two broods a year.

  Behavior

KilldeerKilldeer do not gather in flocks. They are solitary or in male and female pairs. The killdeer sometimes distracts predators from its nest by pretending to be injured. It drags itself along the ground, sometimes on one foot, dragging its wings like they are broken. When the predator turns its attention to the killdeer and away from the nest, the adult killdeer flies away.


 


Advertisement: