Home / Birds / Killdeer


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Killdeer are great actors. When their nesting area is invaded, they will hunch up their wings, spread their tails and shake them, trying to look as big and fierce as possible. If that doesn’t work, they’ll lay a wing to the side and drag it around as if they are lame to draw predators away.

• Length: 10.5 inches
• Wingspan: 24 inches
• Season: Year-round
More about Killdeer.
Where they are, and when.

Killdeer are similar in build to other plovers, but they are the only one with a double band across their chest and a red circle around their eyes. In flight, they have an orange patch in front of their tail. They’re a noisy bird and get their name from their shrill kill-deer call.

Although they’re shorebirds, Killdeer forage in fields, gravel, lawns, golf courses, ballparks and anywhere else with sparse vegetation. They’re frantic in their movements, running in short spurts, stopping suddenly, and then running again. They feed mostly on insects, but will eat worms, crawfish and similar fare.

Killdeer nest in little more than a scrape in the ground or gravel with pebbles strewn nearby and lay three to four brown eggs with dark markings. Sometimes, they’ll raise a second brood.

About Scott Clark

I’m a digital journalist who’s worked as a photographer, reporter, producer and editor. My interest in the natural history of my surroundings reaches back to my early days beachcombing on the Jersey coast, rowing my boat on a quiet lake in Missouri and, more recently, discovering the mountains and backwoods of Montana, where I was born.

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