Plover-like waders (Charadrii)

BIRDS / WADERS, GULLS & TERN /

The birds in this Suborder are grouped from four families:- Ibidorhynchidae (Ibisbill), Recurvirostridae (Avocets and Stilts), Haematopodidae (Oystercatcher) and Charadriidae (Plovers, dotterels, and lapwings).

Further Information: Wikipedia

Avocets and Stilts (Family Recurvirostridae)

Recurvirostridae is a family of birds in the wader suborder Charadrii. It contains two distinct groups of birds, the avocets (one genus) and the stilts (two genera).
Avocets and stilts range in length from 30 to 46 centimetres (12 to 18 in) and in weight from 140 to 435 grams (4.9 to 15.3 oz); males are usually slightly bigger than females.
All possess long, thin legs, necks, and bills. The bills of avocets are curved upwards, and are swept from side to side when the bird is feeding in the brackish or saline wetlands they prefer. The bills of stilts, in contrast, are straight.
The front toes are webbed, partially in most stilts, fully in avocets and the Banded Stilt, which swim more. The majority of species’ plumage has contrasting areas of black and white, with some species having patches of buff or brown on the head or chest. The sexes are similar
These species feed on small aquatic animals such as mollusks, brine shrimp and other crustaceans, larval insects, segmented worms, tadpoles, and small fish.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) Winter Visitor
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) Copyright Peter Drury

Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta) Copyright Peter Drury

Every winter approx 30 Avocet over-winter at Langstone Harbour. They usually stay to the north of the harbour, on the mud flats, until they become flooded by the incoming tide. The birds then fly over to the lake on Farlington Marshes until the tide exposes the mud flats again.

Where these can be seen:Not at the Hayling nature reserve. Portcreek and Farlington Marshes.

Oystercatchers (Family Haematopodidae)

The oystercatchers are a group of waders; they form the family Haematopodidae, which has a single genus, Haematopus. They are found on coasts worldwide apart from the polar regions and some tropical regions of Africa and South East Asia. The exception to this is the Eurasian Oystercatcher and the South Island Oystercatcher, both of which breed inland, far inland in some cases.
The diet of oystercatchers varies with location. Species occurring inland feed upon earthworms and insect larvae. The diet of coastal oystercatchers is more varied, although dependent upon coast type; on estuaries bivalves, gastropods and polychaet worms are the most important part of the diet, where rocky shore oystercatchers prey upon limpets, mussels, gastropos and chitons. Other prey items include echinoderms, fish, and crabs.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) Resident
Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) Copyright Peter Drury

Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) Copyright Peter Drury

Each year a number of pairs of Oystercatcher try nesting on the lagoon islands. I have actually seen one pair being successful in rearing a chick to become a fledgling. Most fail.
The fledglings remain with the parents and are fed by them for an extremely long time for birds.

Where these can be seen: Throughout the nature reserve. On the coastline muds and the Oysterbed Islands.

Plovers, Dotterels and Lapwing (Family Charadriidae)

The bird family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings, about 64 to 66 species in all. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They range in size from the Collared Plover, at 26 grams and 14 cm (5.5 inches), to the Masked Lapwing, at 368 grams (13 oz) and 35 cm (14 inches).
They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipe do. Foods eaten include insects, worms or other invertebrates depending on habitat, and are usually obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups. While breeding, they defend their territories with highly visible aerial displays.

Further Information: Wikipedia

Plovers (Family Charadriidae Genus Charadrius)

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) Resident
Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) Copyright Peter Drury

Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula) Copyright Peter Drury

Adults are 17-19.5 cm in length with a 35–41 cm wingspan. They have a grey-brown back and wings, a white belly, and a white breast with one black neckband. They have a brown cap, a white forehead, a black mask around the eyes and a short orange and black bill. The legs are orange and only the outer two toes are slightly webbed. They nest on the ground, creating a scrape’ in an
open area with little or no plant growth.
These birds forage for food on beaches, tidal flats and fields, usually by sight. They eat insects, crustaceans and worms.

Where these can be seen: Throughout the nature reserve. On the coastline muds and the Oysterbed Islands.


Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) Summer Visitor
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) Copyright Peter Drury

Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) Copyright Peter Drury

Adults have a grey-brown back and wings, a white belly, and a white breast with one black neckband. They have a brown cap, a white forehead, a black mask around the eyes with white above and a short dark bill. The legs are flesh-coloured and the toes are all webbed.
This species differs from the larger ringed plover in leg colour, the head pattern, and the presence of a clear yellow eye-ring.

Where these can be seen: Throughout the nature reserve. On the coastline muds and the Oysterbed Islands.

Plovers (Family Charadriidae, Genus Pluvialia)

Pluvialis is a genus of plovers, a group of wading birds. There are four species which breed in the temperate or Arctic Northern Hemisphere.
In breeding plumage, they all have largely black underparts, and golden or silvery upperparts. They have relatively short bills and feed mainly on insects, worms or other invertebrates, depending on habitat, which are obtained by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other wader groups. They hunt by sight, rather than by feel as do longer- billed waders.

Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) Winter Visitor
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

They moult to winter plumage in mid August to early September and retain this until April; this being a fairly plain grey above, with a grey-speckled breast and white belly. They forage for food on beaches and tidal flats, usually by sight. The food consists of small molluscs, polychaete worms, crustaceans, and insects. It is less gregarious than the other Pluvialis species, not forming dense feeding flocks, instead feeding widely dispersed over beaches, with birds well spaced apart. They will however form dense flocks on high tide roosts.

Where these can be seen: On the shoreline or tightly packed together on any exposed land at high tide.

Lapwings (Family Charadriidae, Sub family Vanellinae)

Vanellinae are any of various crested plovers, family Charadriidae, noted for its slow, irregular wingbeat in flight and a shrill, wailing cry. Its length is 10-16 inches. They are a subfamily of medium-sized wading birds which also includes the plovers and dotterels. The Vanellinae are collectively called lapwings but also contain the ancient Red-kneed Dotterel. A lapwing can be thought of as a larger plover.

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) Resident
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) Copyright Peter Drury

Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) Copyright Peter Drury

A beautiful pigeon sized bird. Unusual with its thin black crest. Close up, in sunlight, the dark feathers on the back have a iridescence from green through purple. Unmistakeable in flight with the broad flat wing tips.Their main food source is insects and worms. They are found in arable fields or coastlines (particularly in winter when large flocks can form). Their nest is merely a scrape in the ground where 3 – 4 eggs are laid between April – June as a single brood.

Where these can be seen: In the saltmarsh area and the tip field.