Charadrius mongolus (Lesser sand plover, Mongolian plover) 

Mongoolse strandkiewiet [Afrikaans]; Kleine woestijnplevier, Mongoolse plevier [Dutch]; Pluvier de Mongolie [French]; Mongolenregenpfeifer [German]; Borrelho-mongol [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Charadriiformes > Family: Charadriidae > Genus: Charadrius

Charadrius mongolus (Lesser sand plover, Mongolian plover)   

Lesser sand plover, India. [photo Arpit Deomurari ]


Distribution and habitat

Breeds in patches of the mountains from central and north-eastern Asia to Siberia, heading south in the non-breeding season to the Persian Gulf, southern Asia, Australia and the east coast of Africa. It is a rare summer visitor to the east coast of southern Africa, while it is a vagrant to coastal Western Cape and Namibia. It generally prefers intertidal and estuarine mudflats, sandy beaches and shores with sand dunes.

Distribution of Lesser sand 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, present in southern Africa from July-May (mainly November-March).


It mainly eats small invertebrates, foraging by day and night using the  typical technique of plovers, running, stopping then searching for prey to pluck from the ground, then repeating the process.


Not threatened.


  • 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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