Ringed plover

Charadrius hiaticula

What do they look like?

Ringed plovers are small wading birds with short orange legs and a black-tipped orange beak. They are grey-brown above and white below, with a distinctive black ring around their neck and black markings on their head. In flight, a broad, white stripe is visible on their wings. They are sometimes confused with the smaller little ringed plover, but their chunkier build, orange legs and beak, and the absence of a yellow ring around their eyes sets them apart.

When can I see them in Scotland?

All year

Where can I see them in Scotland?

Ringed plovers are residents in Scotland all year round, although their numbers are boosted during the colder months by wintering birds from Europe. They nest on the ground on exposed sand and stones, both around the coast and at inland locations.

Conservation Status:

In the UK, bird species with breeding, passage or wintering populations are assessed by experts and assigned to the Red, Amber or Green lists of conservation concern. Ringed plovers are currently a ‘Red’ listed species.

23-25 days
23-25 days
5 years
Average lifespan

Ringed-plover on seaweed covered rocks, sea in background
© Emily Burton