Monday, 14 November 2011

Egyptian plover

Pluvianus aegyptius

Photo by Terje Kolaas (Naturspesialisten)


Common name:

Taxonomy:
Order Charadriiformes
Family Glareolidae

Range:
This African species is found from Mauritania and southern Sudan, down to Uganda and Angola. The Egyptian plover also occurred in Egypt in the past, but became extinct there during the 20th century.

Size:
These birds are 19-21 cm long and have a wingspan of 23-25 cm. They weigh 80-90 g.

Habitat:
These birds are found in large lowland tropical rivers with sandbars and gravel, but also occur around human settlements near rivers and may occasionally use other wetland habitats like lakes or ponds.

Diet:
Egyptian plovers eat aquatic and terrestrial insects, worms, molluscs and sometimes seeds.

Breeding:
These birds breed in January-May. They breed in solitary pairs, nesting in a deep scrape on sand or gravel, where the female lays 2-3 eggs which are not incubated in the normal sense, but rather kept buried in the warm sand, and cooled by the adults sitting above them and periodically wetting the sand. The eggs hatch after 28-31 days and the chicks leave the nest soon after hatching, remaining with their parents until fledging, 4-5 weeks later.

Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
The Egyptian plover has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 22.000-85.000 individuals. The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations may be stable and others have unknown trends, and the may threat affecting the species are habitat changes resulting from the damming of rivers.

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