Creature Feature: Western Snowy Plover

The western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus)   is a small bird, only about six inches long. It has dark patches of feathers on the neck, behind the eyes and on the forehead, with light black, brown and white feathers. This type of plover has dark grey to black legs. Their coloration and small bodies help them camouflage. This pacific coast species love to eat small invertebrates

Western snowy plovers nest at Francis State Beach, and prefer stretches of sand that are also popular with human visitors. Male plovers scrape small crevices in the sand to impress the discerning females. The female plover will lay up to three eggs. Once the eggs hatch, it is up to the male to raise the chicks. Some females breed with multiple males throughout the breeding season.

Because humans and plovers have the same taste in beaches, the human traffic, including running, playing, and walking their pets, has led to nest disruption. When visiting local beaches you can help these threatened species by keeping an eye out for these little birds. Learn more about the western snowy plovers and the wonderful Plover Watch Volunteer program at

Learn to make your own snowy plover craft!



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