About 9-11 inches (23-28 cm) long. The legs and feet are buff
colored, the beak is dark and pointed (Peterson, 1990). The
forehead, eye stripe, collar, underparts, and wing linings are
white; the neck has two black bands. Both sexes appear the same
year-round (Ligon, 1961).
Charadrius vociferus is found near lakes, ponds, and
streams (Ligon, 1961). Fields, airports, and lawns also are
likely locales (Peterson, 1990).
This species is found primarily in North America from Alaska east
to British Columbia, south throughout the remainder of North
America, Middle America, northern South America west of the Andes
to western Ecuador and eastward to northern Venezuela to include
Bermuda, the West Indies, and most of the off-shore islands of
northern South America (American Ornithologists' Union, 1983).
C. vociferus feeds on insects, grubs, and worms; hence
its preference for fields, gardens, and lawns (Forbush and May,
The female makes her nest on the ground in a slight hollow in the
center or along the edges of gravely roadways or lakeside trails.
The nest is lined with small gravel, bits of grass, or weed
stems. This setting provides an almost perfect camouflage for the
eggs. Usually four eggs are laid; they are dull buffy-colored
with heavily marked streaks of dark brown, black, and lavender
(Ligon, 1961). The young closely resemble their parents and are
able to forage for their own food almost immediately after
hatching (Forbush and May, 1955).
The Killdeer is also known as the Killdeer Plover, Kildee, and
Meadow Plover. This species protects itself by feigning injury in
order to distract its enemies and then rapidly escaping in flight
or on the run (Forbush and May, 1955). Their common name
is derived from their calls which are a loud, insistent
kill-deeah or a plaintive dee-dee-dee (Peterson,
American Ornithologists' Union. 1983. Check-list of North
American birds, 6th ed. Allen Press, Lawrence, 877 pp.
Forbush, E. H., and J. B. May. 1955. A natural history of
birds of eastern and central North America. Bramhall House, New
York, 552 pp.
Ligon, J. S. 1961. New Mexico birds and where to find them. The
University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 360 pp.
Peterson, R. T. 1990. A field guide to western birds. Houghton
Mifflin Company, Boston, 432 pp.
Mary Kirschenbaum, July 1996.