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Piping Plover

Piping Plover.  Photo by Matt Poole/USFWS
Matt Poole/USFWS

Federally Endangered


This stocky shorebird plumage characteristics include a sand-colored back, a white underside, and orange legs. Adults develop a black forehead, black breast band, and an orange bill with a black tip during the breeding season.


The piping plover is 6-7 inches long, with a wingspan of 19 inches.


Many reservoirs throughout the state have harbored piping plovers for brief periods and single birds are usually documented at stopover sites. As with other plovers, piping plovers often select mudflats and sandbars to forage for invertebrates. The birds seen in Oklahoma are all part of the Northern Great Plains population and typically occur in the state from March to May, and July to September.

Life Cycle

This species typically breeds along shorelines of rivers and lakes from Kansas to Canada, though one nesting record exists in the Oklahoma Panhandle. It overwinters along the Gulf Coast.

Explore more Oklahoma Birds

Black-capped vireo; Greg Morris
Photo by: Greg Morris
Piping Plover.  Photo by Matt Poole/USFWS
Photo by: Matt Poole/USFWS
Carolina wren; Isaac Sanchez/Flickr
Photo by: Isaac Sanchez/Flickr