Three-banded plover

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Three-banded plover
Three-banded plover (Charadrius tricollaris).jpg
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Charadriidae
Genus: Charadrius
C. tricollaris
Binomial name
Charadrius tricollaris
Vieillot, 1818

The three-banded plover, or three-banded sandplover (Charadrius tricollaris), is a small wader. This plover is resident in much of eastern and southern Africa and Madagascar, mainly on inland rivers, pools, and lakes. Its nest is a bare scrape on shingle. This species is often seen as single individuals, but it will form small flocks. It hunts by sight for insects, worms and other invertebrates. Three-banded plovers have a sharp whistled weeet-weet call.


Female incubating
Nest with two eggs

The adult three-banded plover is 18 cm in length. It has long wings and a long tail, and therefore looks different from most other small plovers in flight, the exception being the closely related Forbes's plover that replaces it in west Africa.

The adult three-banded plover has medium brown upperparts, and the underparts are white except for the two black breast bands, separated by a white band, which give this species its common and scientific names. The head is strikingly patterned, with a black crown, white supercilia extending from the white forehead to meet on the back of the neck, and a grey face becoming brown on the neck. The eye ring and the base of the otherwise black bill are red.

The Madagascan subspecies C. t. bifrontatus has a grey band between the bill and the white forehead, and the sides of the head are grey. A genetic study reported genetic differentiation between Madagascar and the mainland population.[2] The sexes are similar, and the juveniles of the nominate and Madagascan subspecies also resemble the adults, although the forehead is brownish for a short time. This species is distinguished from the larger, darker Forbes's plover in that the latter species has a brown forehead and lacks a white wingbar.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Charadrius tricollaris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22727471A94950399. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22727471A94950399.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  2. ^ Remedios, Natalie Dos; Küpper, Clemens; Székely, Tamás; Zefania, Sama; Burns, Fiona; Bolton, Mark; Lee, Patricia L. M. (2020). "Genetic structure among Charadrius plovers on the African mainland and islands of Madagascar and St Helena". Ibis. 162 (1): 104–118. doi:10.1111/ibi.12694. ISSN 1474-919X.
  • Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1
  • Hayman, Marchant and Prater Shorebirds ISBN 0-395-60237-8

External links[edit]