White-faced plover

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White-faced plover
Charadrius alexandrinus - Laem Pak Bia.jpg
A white-faced plover in Laem Pak Bia, Thailand
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Charadriidae
Genus: Charadrius
C. a. dealbatus
Trinomial name
Charadrius alexandrinus dealbatus
Swinhoe, 1870
  • Aegialites dealbatus

The white-faced plover (Charadrius alexandrinus dealbatus) is a small shorebird, usually considered to be a subspecies of the Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus),[2] found in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Initially described by British ornithologist Robert Swinhoe, the bird resembles the Kentish plover with which it has been much confused.[3]


The white-faced plover was first described in 1870 by the English biologist Robert Swinhoe. The type specimen came from the island of Formosa (Taiwan) and he gave it the name Aegialites dealbatus. Since then the bird has been the subject of much debate and has variously been classified as being conspecific with Charadrius marginatus, Charadrius alexandrinus, Charadrius nivosus, Charadrius javanicus and Charadrius ruficapillus. Some authors consider it to be a subspecies of C. alexandrinus while others give it full species status as C. dealbatus.[4]


The white-faced plover grows to a length of about 17 cm (6.7 in). It has a rounded head with a white fore-crown and a white supercilium. The crown is pale rufous brown upper parts are pale brownish-grey. The hind collar, throat and underparts are white. The beak and legs are dark and the tail short. Compared to the rather similar Kentish plover, it has a thicker, blunter beak, white lores, paler crown and upperparts, less black on the lateral breast patches and a larger white wingbar.[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This bird is found in southeastern China, Vietnam, the Gulf of Thailand, peninsular Malaya and Sumatra, and is partially migratory. It typically inhabits sandy beaches, mudflats and saltpans, and outside the breeding season visits reclaimed areas.[4]


The diet of this bird has been little studied but is presumed to be similar to that of the Kentish plover which feeds on small invertebrates such as insects and their larvae, spiders, molluscs, crustaceans and marine worms. It feeds on the foreshore, searching visually for prey then dashing forward to catch the prey or probing the substrate with its beak.[5] Its breeding habits are not known.[4]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Charadrius dealbatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T22735615A95115530. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  2. ^ Rheindt, F. E.; Székely, T. S.; Edwards, S. V.; Lee, P. L. M.; Burke, T.; Kennerley, P. R.; Bakewell, D. N.; Alrashidi, M.; Kosztolányi, A. S.; Weston, M. A.; Liu, W. T.; Lei, W. P.; Shigeta, Y.; Javed, S.; Zefania, S.; Küpper, C. (2011). Steinke, Dirk (ed.). "Conflict between Genetic and Phenotypic Differentiation: The Evolutionary History of a 'Lost and Rediscovered' Shorebird". PLoS ONE. 6 (11): e26995. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026995. PMC 3212520. PMID 22096515.
  3. ^ Kennerley, Peter R.; Bakewell, David N.; Round, Philip D. (2008). "Rediscovery of a long-lost Charadrius plover from South-East Asia" (PDF). Forktail. 24: 63–79.
  4. ^ a b c d del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N.; Kirwan, G.M.; Sharpe, C.J. "White-faced Plover (Charadrius dealbatus)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. Retrieved 19 December 2019.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Wiersma, P.; Kirwan, G.M.; Boesman, P. "Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. Retrieved 19 December 2019.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

External links[edit]