Charadrius tricollaris (Three-banded plover) 

Driebandstrandkiewiet [Afrikaans]; Inqatha, Unokrekre [Xhosa]; Patapeta-nala [South Sotho]; N'wantshekutsheku, Xitsekutseku [Tsonga]; Driebandplevier [Dutch]; Pluvier à triple collier [French]; Dreiband-regenpfeifer [German]; Borrelho-de-três-golas [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 tricollaris (Three-banded plover)  Charadrius tricollaris (Three-banded plover) 

Three-banded plover. [photo Callie de Wet ©]

Three-banded plover, Milnerton Sewage Works, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]
Three-banded plover, Paarl Bird Sanctuary, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©] Three-banded plover, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in Madagascar and sub-Saharan Africa, in Nigeria as well as in the area from Ethiopia south through Uganda, Tanzania, southern DRC, Zambia and Angola to southern Africa. Within southern Africa it is common across much of the region, largely excluding arid south-central Botswana, generally preferring open shores of any freshwater habitat, such as pools, streams, seeps, farm dams and sewage works.

Distribution of Three-banded 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

Little known, although often moving away on the onset of seasonal rainfall at Zambia and Zimbabwe, while it travels away from arid areas at the beginning of the dry season.


It mainly eats invertebrates (both terrestrial and aquatic), doing most of its foraging on open shores using the typical plover technique, running, stopping and searching for prey then repeating the process. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Invertebrates


  • Monogamous, territorial solitary nester, defending its territory by running or flying at intruders, which can be another Three-banded plover or a different species.
  • The nest (see image below) is a simple scrape in sand, shingle or dry mud, often lined with dried bits of material, dried mud or pebbles and typically placed close to the water.
Charadrius tricollaris (Three-banded plover)  

Three banded plover clutch (pictured in centre, camouflaged by the surrounding rocks), Nylsvley area, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is almost year-round, often peaking from July-December.
  • It lays 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 26-28 days, as the male defends the territory by day while the female incubates, then switching places at night so that the female can feed.
  • The chicks are brooded frequently at first, taking their first flight at about 21-22 days old and can fly strongly 9-10 days later. They may remain with their parents up to about 40-42 days old.


Not threatened, in fact it is generally tolerant of disturbance, and has benefited from the construction of artificial water bodies.


  • 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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