Charadrius mongolus

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

Charadrius mongolus, Lesser Sand Plover, Cerekpasir Mongolia


Mongolian Plovers feed on small invertebrates such as worms, crabs and bivalves. During breeding, they feed on insects.

Unlike other plovers which use the run-and-peck method, the Mongolian uses the “sewing-machine” feeding action more commonly used by sandpipers. This action aptly describes the way they incessantly probe with their bills for titbits.

Mongolian Plovers prefer to forage on tidal mudflats, particularly in the soft mud between the tides. But they may also forage on drier mudbanks. They are rarely found far inland. They may forage at night. While they feed, Mongolian Plovers are rather scattered, especially at low tide. But they migrate and roost in large numbers, sometimes with other waders.

Breeding (May-August): Mongolian Plovers breed discontinuously, in areas across east Asia from the Himalayas to North East Siberia, rarely in Alaska.

Like other plovers, Mongolian Plovers nest on the open ground, sometimes besides bushes or large stones. They dig shallow hollows, or use cattle footprints, and line these with pebbles or bits of plants. In the Himalayas, they nest above or beyond the tree-line, at altitudes of up to 5,500m. But in Siberia, on coastal shingle or sand dunes.

2-3 eggs are laid, and both parents incubate (22-24 days) and raise the young. But sometimes only the male raises the young. They fledge at 30-35 days.
Migration: Mongolian Plovers are powerful travellers. From their northerly breeding grounds, they winter on the coasts and estuaries around the Indian Ocean and South-west Pacific (Africa, India, Sumatra to the Greater Sundas and Australia). There are 5 races which take different migration routes. Those visiting Singapore generally breed in Central or Northeast Asia.

Mongolian Plovers usually winter on muddy and sandy coasts, and occasionally at inland wetlands or on cultivated grounds. On migrations and on wintering grounds, they are found in large numbers, sometimes mixing with Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii), which they closely resemble. In Singapore, they come in groups of about 70. They adopt partial breeding plumage before leaving their wintering grounds.

Status and threats: Like other migrating shorebirds, Mongolian Plovers are affected by habitat destruction and water pollution.

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