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Grey plover


Common name Grey plover
Scientific name Pluvialis squatarola
Type Waterbirds
Status Wintering

Medium-sized wader bird (approx 29 cm or 11.5 in) with a bulky body. Deep black plumage on the face, neck, belly and breast, all bordered by a white stripe. Greyish upperparts as a whole, consisting of a dotted design of whites, blacks and greys. In winter they lose the black colour, and the greyish brown dotting extends to the breast and the belly, with dominance of the whites. In flight the black armpits stand out. Black bill and legs.


Wetlands and Marine environment

Where it lives

Beaches and coastal and inland wetlands with intertidal zones.

How it lives

Wintering species in the province that can also be watched in migratory passage. It breeds in the north of Europe, in the tundra. Nest on the ground. One laying in June (after the thawing) of 3 to 4 eggs. This bird feeds on insects, earthworms, small crustaceans and molluscs. All plovers show the same behaviour when feeding: they locate their prey with the sight and at a distance, and after a short run to their location they catch it.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

It can be watched in lonely beaches of the Coastal Path with sandy shores and good intertidal flow, for example between the Guadalmina and Guadaiza rivers in Marbella. Also present in the mouths of the Guadalhorce and Vélez rivers, and in the Fuente de Piedra and Campillos lagoons.

Curious facts

Plovers are birds with a reputation for being carefree or unattentive. Their nests on the ground, in small elevations without protection, contribute to their fame. The legends about the fact that when one of them is hunted the others will see what has happened or the fact that they are great travelers have contributed as a whole to the Spanish expression "cabeza de chorlito" (“plover head”), which refers to people who lack concentration.

Similar birds
Routes where it can be observed
Wintering Summer Resident Migration