Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition has just has a few more days to go! Today's new bird is a widespread species of plover: the Black-bellied Plover!
Black-bellied Plovers are medium-sized shorebirds that breed in the high Arctic, in tundra habitat. During the winter months, this migratory species can be found along ocean coasts all around the world.
Black-bellied Plovers feed on insects and some plant material while breeding on the Arctic tundra. Their winter diet is very different, with coastal prey like crustaceans, marine worms and more on the menu.
Black-bellied Plovers change their look along with their location throughout the year. Breeding adult plovers have a striking black and white pattern on the back with a white-bordered black belly, breast, neck, and face. During the winter the plumage is much more subdued, with greyish upperparts and dull white underparts. Outside of North America the species is known as the Grey Plover.
Black-bellied Plover in breeding plumage by nigel (CC BY 2.0)
Black-bellied Plover in winter plumage by Peter Massas (CC BY-SA 2.0)
The Black-bellied Plover joins Birdorable today as our 638th cute cartoon bird. Be sure to check out our selection of apparel and gifts featuring our Birdorable Black-bellied Plover.
Tomorrow our Bonanza will reveal a type of heron with a very wide bill. Can you guess tomorrow's species?
Everybody loves plovers, they are the cutest thing on the planet, and you can't spell Plovers without "Love". Happy Valentine's Day to everyone and if you're looking for some cute heart-themed gifts for your special birder then check out the designs with customizable products in our love and hearts section.
The Egyptian Plover is a beautiful species of wader that lives in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the common name, their present range does not extend to any part of Egypt. The bird is sometimes known by another name: Crocodile Bird.
During a visit to Egypt in 459 BC, the Greek historian Herodotus noted having seen a small bird picking out food from the mouth of a crocodile. The behavior was presumed to be symbiotic, or beneficial to both animals. The crocodile got a nice teeth cleaning, and the bird got an easy meal. The bird named in Herodotus' account was an Egyptian Plover. Our first clue that this may not be true is the fact that Herodotus, while often recognized as the world's first historian, had a nickname of his own: "The Father of Lies." The Crocodile Bird myth was later revived by explorers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Two separate personal eyewitness accounts, one by a German zoologist, the other by a British birdwatcher, are widely disputed. In fact, there is no substantial record of any type of symbiotic cleaning relationship between any crocodilian species and any bird, anywhere. Despite its questionable background, the nickname Crocodile Bird does make the Egyptian Plover sound kind of cool, don't you think?
On the eleventh day of Birdorable, my true love gave to me… 11 Piping Plovers! Our 12 Days of Birdorable continues today with our totally cute Piping Plover!
The line Eleven Pipers Piping in the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” refers to musicians playing pipes. Our Birdorable Piping Plover seems a suitable bird substitute for this day's gift. Piping Plovers, appropriately enough, are named for their high-pitched flight call, which sounds like pipe-pipe-pipe-pipe.
This is the eleventh day of our 12 Days of Birdorable holiday event. Previously featured were:
If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr) of the Snowy Plover. Snowy Plovers are ground-nesting birds. Males prepare several scrape-style nesting sites during courtship and the female chooses which scrape will be used. Two to six eggs are typically laid, and the babies are able to leave the nest as soon as three hours after hatching!! Because these small plovers breed along the Gulf Coast, they will surely be affected by the BP oil spill currently soiling southern shores. If you would like to learn more about the Snowy Plover, Cornell's wonderful resource The Birds of North America Online currently has opened up their page about Snowy Plovers to non-subscribers. Species accounts for 14 other threatened birds are also openly available.
Snowy Plover by Ron Wolf
Snowy Plover chicks at Moss Landing by Bill Walker
new_chicks by Caitlin Robinson Nilsen, San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory
Snowy Plover Chick & Eggs by prgault
Snowy Plover and two Chicks 9657 by floridanaturephotography
Snowy Plover & Newborn Chick 9950 by floridanaturephotography
Baby Snowy Plover by dyannoel
Snowy Plover Chick in Flight by jryoung1947
If you'd like to help the hard-working wildlife rehabbers helping the birds affected by the BP oil spill, please consider making a donation to the International Bird Rescue Research Center.
This week's feature t-shirt design is our Birdorable Dunlin, a medium-sized sandpiper that lives across much of the northern hemisphere. They are common shorebirds for many birders around the world. Like many other wading birds, they display different plumage in breeding season versus winter. Our cute Birdorable Dunlin is shown here in full breeding plumage, including the conspicuous black belly patch.