About the Killdeer

Killdeer are known and get their name from their 'broken-wing act' which they use to distract predators from their nests. This involves the bird walking away from its nesting area holding its wing in a position that simulates an injury and then flapping around on the ground emitting a distress call. The predators then think they have easy prey and are attracted to this seemingly injured bird and away from the nest. If the parent sees that a potential predator is not following them, they will move closer and get louder until they get the attention of the predator.

Their breeding habitat is open fields or lawns, often quite far from water, across most of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, with isolated populations in Costa Rica and Peru.They nest on the ground in an open area with a clear line of sight, or on a gravel roof. They are migratory in northern areas and winter as far south as northern South America.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 05 August 2007
Scientific Name
Charadrius vociferus
  • Charadriiformes
  • Charadriidae
  • Charadrius
  • C. vociferus
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Least Concern (as of 5 April 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
9 to 11 inches


International Names

Czech (Cesky) Kulík Rezavoocasý
Danish (Dansk) Kildire
Dutch (Nederlands) Killdeerplevier
Finnish (Suomi) Amerikantylli
French (Français) Pluvier Kildir
German (Deutsch) Keilschwanz-Regenpfeifer
Italian (Italiano) Corriere Americano
Japanese (日本語) フタオビチドリ (Futaobichidori)
Norwegian (Norsk) Tobeltelo
Polish (Polski) Sieweczka Krzykliwa
Russian (русский язык) Крикливый зуёк
Spanish (Español) Chorlitejo Culirrojo
Swedish (Svenska) Skrikstrandpipare
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