Charadrius dubius

Written by on April 13, 2012 in Indonesia Bird with 0 Comments

Charadrius dubius, Little Ringed Plover,  Cerek Kalung-kecil

Charadrius-dubius-02

Little Ringed Plovers feed on animal titbits found on short grass, bare soil and mud. These include insects, spiders and shrimps.

Their hunting style is a characteristic hesitant stop-run-peck, in a hunched position, usually higher up on the shore on drier sand or mud. They are often observed “foot-trembling”, standing on one foot while rapidly vibrating the toes of the other foot on the surface. A few seconds later they run forward to peck at something. Probably, this vibration disturbs prey to betray their presence.

Little Ringed Plovers prefer to forage on tidal mudflats, shallow flood pools, open short-grasslands or even bare soil.

The wary Little Ringed Plovers often scatter to forage. They rarely join other waders in their mass flights or roosts. Usually territorial, they chase off other Little Ringed Plovers or small plovers from good feeding sites. Nevertheless, they may form small flocks of a dozen or so when moving and migrating. Their flight is rapid direct and low over the ground.

Breeding: Little Ringed Plovers breed in temperate to low arctic Eurasia from the Atlantic to Japan, as well as in Africa, China, northern continental Asia, the Philippines and New Guinea. Little Ringed Plovers perform courtship display flights of butterfly-like movements, with the male endlessly circling with slow and deliberate wing-beats. Although courtship is noisy, when the pair finally nest, they become secretive.

Little Ringed Plovers nest mainly on gravely river banks, lake shores or small islands, usually near fresh water. But they have also adapted to industrial sites. These include gravel works and rubbish tips!

Although usually solitary, some may be semi-colonial, nesting about 9m apart. They appear to purposely nest near aggressive shorebirds whose behaviour helps to keep predators away. The nest is simply a shallow scrape, sometimes lined with plants or stones.
3-4 eggs are laid and both parents incubate (22-28 days). Besides the parents, sometimes another bird (or even two) may help out with incubation, raising the young and even defending the territory. These helpers may be male or female and are believed to be the offspring or former partners from the previous season. The chicks are highly active, running quickly on their long legs. To distract predators from their eggs or chicks, the parents use the “broken wing” feint. The young fledge in 24-29 days, but the female may depart before that to lay another clutch of eggs or to migrate.

Migration: Little Ringed Plovers are migratory over most of their range, although those that breed in some southern areas are resident. They winter southwards of their breeding sites, on muddy shores both inland and coastal. In Singapore, they are found on mangroves, mudflats, sand bars, ponds, reservoirs, marshes, grassland, riverbanks.

Status and threats: Little Ringed Plovers are adaptable to different feeding grounds during their migration. However, their breeding sites are affected by man-made changes that affect river flows. Nesting is disrupted by unseasonal flooding of gravel banks. On the other hand, lack of natural flooding also prevents the renewal of gravel beds, and they become overgrown and unsuitable nesting sites for these plovers. However, the birds usually recover quickly; often laying again days after losing their eggs or chicks. They also readily take over man-made sites such as gravel works, sewerage farms, beet factory settling ponds and even shingle roofs. Nevertheless, their numbers have declined and they are included in the Red List of some countries where they were previously abundant.

 

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