Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Living Sanctuary section includes Marine Life, Habitats, Ocean Environment, History and Culture
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Living Sanctuary section includes Marine Life, Habitats, Ocean Environment, History and Culture
Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Living Sanctuary section includes Marine Life, Habitats, Ocean Environment, History and Culture

Killdeer

Killdeer
(Charadrius vociferus)

Habitat
Open habitats for breeding, often adjacent to wetlands, including farmland, pastures, golf courses, parks, and even gravel rooftops in cities. Nonbreeders in most open habitats with short or no vegetation, including plowed fields, upper parts of beaches, and open salt marshes. Mudflats only rarely used.

Range
Breeds throughout southern Canada and USA, although absent from high latitudes; winters from southern British Columbia, Utah, Oklahoma, Illinois and Long Island south to northern South America.

Eats
Considered omnivorous since berries are known to be included within the diet. Primarily though, the diet consists of various aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, insects and crustaceans.

Feeds
Characteristic search method involves running, stopping, waiting, bobbing head, then running again. Follows agricultural plows for worms.

Moves
Typical shorebird flight display with slowly beating wings and loud calls.

Threats
Killdeer adults, chicks and eggs are vulnerable to predation by a wide assortment of predators. These include birds of prey, gulls, crows and ravens, snakes, foxes, coyotes, domestic cats, domestic dogs, raccoons and skunks. Also vulnerable to pesticides.

Reproduction
Killdeer are monogamous, and usually begin breeding in early spring. Females lay an average of four eggs in a depression scooped into bare ground, and eggs are incubated by both parents for approximately 28 days. Chicks are precocial at hatching, and able to leave the nest soon after their down dries. Unlike most birds, killdeers do not feed their chicks in the nest. Chicks remain with the parents until they are able to fly, two to three weeks after hatching.

Presence in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
Usually year-round, although will migrate south when temperatures fall below 10 degrees Celcius.

Notes
Killdeer are highly adaptive to climate and environmental variations, and as a consequence, have effectively settled into human altered environments including parks and agricultural zones.

An adult killdeer sitting on eggs will lie still during the approach of an intruder. When the intruder comes too near, the adult will leave the nest and perform an "injured bird" routine, hobbling away and dragging its wings. After drawing the unwelcome visitor far enough from the nest, the adult killdeer takes off in flight and eludes the potential danger.



Contact for page content: Liam Antrim
Photo of peach coral
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