Charadrius asiaticus (Caspian plover) 

Asiatiese strandkiewiet [Afrikaans]; Kaspische plevier [Dutch]; Pluvier asiatique [French]; Wermutregenpfeifer [German]; Borrelho-asiático [Portuguese]

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Charadrius asiaticus (Caspian plover)   

Caspian plover, Etosha National Park, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]


Distribution and habitat

Breeds in central Asia, heading south in the non-breeding season to eastern sub-Saharan Africa, from Sudan and Ethiopia through Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, eastern DRC, Zambia and Angola to southern Africa. Here it is generally uncommon in central and north-eastern Namibia (including the Caprivi Strip), patches of Zimbabwe, central Mozambique and northern South Africa, while most common in northern and central Botswana. It generally prefers dry habitats, often far from water, such as short grassland, sparsely vegetated plains, salt pans and ploughed or heavily grazed land.

Distribution of Caspian plover in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Movements and migrations

Palearctic breeding migrant, leaving its breeding colonies in August before heading south over land, beginning to arrive in southern Africa in August, but the main influx is in the period from September-November. While in the region it is highly nomadic, eventually departing in late February and early March.


It mainly eats insects, doing most of its foraging using the run-stop-search technique typical of plovers, often in short grassland. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


Not threatened, although its global population has decreased, due to habitat alteration at its breeding grounds.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 



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