This stocky plover breeds in high Arctic zones around the world, and winters on the coasts of six continents. They are perhaps the rarest mammals in North America, depending primarily upon prairie dogs for food. Land-Lubbing Shorebird. Appropriate forage items are more abundant on prairie-dog towns than in contiguous habitats. More than half of mountain plover egg clutches are lost to predation. This may create a "reproductive sink" for the species, where mortality on the cultivated lands is greater than the number of birds produced. But in the Thunder Basin, mountain plovers (Charadrius montanus) specifically choose sites … Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants: proposed threatened status for the mountain plover. Once the chicks hatch, they can almost immediately run and feed themselves. Olson-Edge, S. L. and W. D. Edge. The Prairie Naturalist 19(4):233-238. Johnsgard, P.A. They do not have the dark breast band or collar which are common markings on other species of plovers. Drawer 1450, Douglas. Refuges are ideal places for people of all ages to explore and connect with the natural world. The North American Breeding Bird Survey shows declines of over 80 percent in Mountain Plover populations over the past few decades, and this species is included on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. Mountain Plovers nest only in areas with sparse vegetation or bare ground, such as prairie dog towns. This type of incubation allows for a greater yield of chicks than a monogamous system in which both the male and female tend a single clutch together. Plovers will use almost anything they can find on the beach to make their nests, including kelp, driftwood, shells, rocks, and even human footprints. There are at least seven species of plovers found on the continent. This information is used to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. The top three predators in the Rocky Mountain all command respect while visiting their home. Sibley, D.A. After the female lays her first clutch of eggs, the male starts incubating that nest, while the female goes on to lay another clutch in a second nest. HABITAT: Endemic to the Great Plains, this species is associated with short-grass prairie dominated by blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis). If the eggs survive various dangers, especially such predators as coyotes, snakes, and swift foxes, they hatch in 28 to 31 days, and the hatchlings leave the nest within a few hours. RANGE: Historically, the mountain plover bred throughout short-grass prairies of the western Great Plains from Montana to New Mexico and Texas. In the next 2 or 3 days, the family usually moves 1-2 kilometers (0.6-1 miles) from the nest site to a good feeding area, often near a water tank for livestock. Winters primarily in California on plowed fields, heavily grazed annual grasslands, or burned fields. Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus) State Rank: S2B Global Rank: G3 Figure 36. Breeding begins in March or April.   The average clutch size is 3 eggs.  Incubation takes 28-31 days.  Chicks are mobile within a few days of hatching and move away from the nest site. Providing leadership in the conservation of migratory bird habitat through partnerships, grants, and outreach for present and future generations. United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Density and distribution of the mountain plover on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. In Wyoming’s Thunder Basin National Grassland, imperiled mountain plovers choose nesting habitats on the edges of black-tailed prairie dog colonies, researchers found. 3381, Laramie, Wyoming 82071; 307-766-3023 2 Zoology Program Manager, Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, University of Wyoming, 1000 E. University Visit each page for information regarding their habitat, their life cycle, conservation efforts and how to travel safely in the Rocky Mountains while enjoying the outdoors. Plover nests usually contain three tiny eggs, which are camouflaged to look like sand and barely visible to even the most well-trained trained eye. Mountain plover food items on and adjacent to a prairie dog town. Fourteen Mountain Plover nests each had three eggs; an average of 2.6 eggs hatched in seven nests, whereas remaining nests were lost to predation, storms, or trampling by a cow. A total of 278 nests were found 2002-2007, all but six in agricultural fields, … Fish and Wildlife Service is working with Although the Black-bellied Plover is quite plain in its non-breeding plumage, it adds much to the character of our shorelines with its haunting whistles, heard by day or night. The grassland plover species is known to nest in places that have recently been disturbed by factors such as burning or grazing. This steep decline is mainly due to habitat loss. Olson, S.L. their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American People. 1996. Montana range and observations of the mountain plover Habitat Habitat use in Montana appears similar to other areas within the species’ global breeding range, i.e., use of prairie dog colonies are primarily used in Montana; however, other short-grass prairie Mountain plover nests are shallow depressions in the ground. 2000. REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT: Mountain plovers nest in sparsely vegetated habitats such as short-grass prairies, sage brush, and semi-desert but also will nest on fallow and recently plowed ground. xi + 504 pp. Most of our current knowledge of Mountain Plover in Nebraska has come from extensive field work carried out 2002-2016 in the southwest Panhandle by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (Bly et al 2008). Mountain plovers often are associated with prairie-dog colonies or other forms of surface disturbance such as areas of cattle concentrations. Mortality also occurs from hail, aircraft strikes and overheating. Males and females are not easy to tell apart, … These animals historically maintained the short grass and open-ground habitat favored by this species. Mountain plovers only nest in areas with sparse vegetation or bare ground, such as prairie dog towns. It feeds mostly on insects and other small arthropods. Like the Mountain Plover and Buff-breasted Sandpiper, the American Golden-Plover prefers grasslands to shorelines, and is often found far from water. For the most part, these birds are relatively small, and usually have light or dark colored feathers to match the beach or rocks. The Mountain-Prairie Region's Office of Ecological Services (ES) works to restore and protect healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and plants and the environments upon which they depend. mountain plover, are declining at faster rates than any other group of North American birds. Though their dark-olive-and-black eggs are well-camouflaged, they are nevertheless vulnerable to predators such as coyotes, swift foxes, and ground squirrels. The mountain plover is about 8 inches long, and is similar in size and appearance to a killdeer but has longer legs and a more upright posture. Common Ringed Plover-Charadrius hiaticula The common ringed plover is found in wetland habitats. We're working with farmers, ranchers, and government agencies across the Mountain Plover's breeding grounds to restore grasslands. The Mountain-Prairie Region consists of 8 states in the heart of the American west including Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Breeding strongholds for the mountain plover can be found in small areas of Montana and eastern Colorado. The Sibley guide to birds. 1985. The Office of Law Enforcement contributes to Service efforts to manage ecosystems, save endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, restore fisheries, combat invasive species, and promote international wildlife conservation. Mountain Plovers nest only in areas with sparse vegetation or bare ground, such as prairie dog towns. Few observations of spring migrants. While mountain plovers are commonly found attempting to breed on plowed land in several states, surveys have found that successful nesting is interrupted by subsequent planting and crop growing before nesting is completed. Unlike other plovers such as the Snowy or Wilson's, Mountain Plovers are not typically associated with water. These conservation practices also benefit species of conservation concern such as the Worthen's Sparrow, a bird recognized by the Alliance for Zero Extinction as a species in imminent danger of extinction. Females can mate with several males and have several male-tended nests in one breeding season. Knopf, F. L. 1996.  Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus).  In The Birds of North America, No. Management strategies such as intensive grazing and promoting prairie dog towns are beneficial for mountain plovers. More than half of egg clutches are lost to predation or accidental trampling. Mountain plover status on their current breeding range-special emphasis on the birds on and near the Antelope Coal Mine in the souther Powder River Basin, Converse County, Wyoming. Nesting areas are associated with bare ground (~30%) and flat or slight slope (~ 5%). Potential predators (e.g. The mountain plover is threatened by certain practices of plowing, sodbusting, and range management; oil and gas activities; and prairie dog control. They usually have moderately long legs, and short beaks. The mountain plover often nests on black-tailed prairie dog towns but about 92 percent of areas occupied by prairie dogs have been lost in the last 100 years. Additional Information Key: Profile Photos Video Audio . Mountain Plovers forage through grasses and recently cultivated fields for insects, particularly grasshoppers. It's also nicknamed “Prairie Ghost” for its habit of freezing in place when threatened, blending perfectly into its grassy surroundings. The Mountain Plover has a large breeding range of 759,000 square kilometers that includes shortgrass prairie, and other open habitats with very short vegetation in parts of south-central Canada, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, western Kansas, New Mexico, and a few sites in eastern Arizona, western Texas, and northern Mexico. SPECIES ASSESSMENT FOR MOUNTAIN PLOVER (CHARADRIUS MONTANUS) IN WYOMINGprepared by HAMILTON SMITH 1 AND DOUGLAS A. KEINATH 2 1 Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, University of Wyoming, 1000 E. University Ave, Dept. 1992. Managed by the U.S. In addition, livestock grazing practices that encourage taller grasses and forbs eliminate mountain plover habitat. Birds of the Rocky Mountains with particular reference to national parks in the northern Rocky Mountain region. Fish and Wildlife Service provides support to the regional office and field stations to communicate and facilitate information about the Service's programs to the public, media, Congress, Tribes, partners, and other stakeholders in the 8-state region. It has a light brown back, a dark brown cap on top of the head and a lighter colored breast. Fish & Wildlife Service Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program in the Mountain-Prairie Region helps conserve, protect, and enhance aquatic resources and provides economically valuable recreational fishing to anglers across the country. As prairie dog colonies and habitat have been lost, mountain plovers have started to nest on croplands. Others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and Common predators of the prairie dog include coyotes, bobcats, eagles, hawks, badgers, and weasels. Sign up for ABC's eNews to learn how you can help protect birds! A closer look provides some clues. The bison is now functionally extinct, but prairie dogs continue to play a vital role in creating Mountain Plover habitat. Because mountain plovers are cryptically colored, they are often overlooked in population surveys, such as the Breeding Bird Survey, so population numbers likely are underestimated. In appearance it is typical of Charadrius plovers, except that unlike most, it has no band across the breast. The Mountain Plover is listed as threatened in Canada and in Mexico (Commission for … These birds vary from species to species, each of which has different plumage with a variety of colors and patterns. The name “Mountain” Plover is misleading, since this is a species of shortgrass prairies. Suitable breeding habitat for Mountain Plovers—along with a suite of other native grassland birds, including the Long-billed Curlew, Chestnut-collared Longspur, and Sprague's Pipit—is also disappearing due to declines in populations of native grazing animals such as bison. Mountain plovers share habitat with prairie dogs at many core breeding sites, and with kangaroo rats on winter habitat in California. Using the best available science, ES personnel work with Federal, State, Tribal, local, and non-profit stakeholders, as well as private land owners, to avoid, minimize, and mitigate threats to our Nation's natural resources. The understated, elegant sandy plumage of the Mountain Plover blends perfectly with its pale shortgrass and desert surroundings—when alarmed, this bird often simply sits down and disappears. We invite you to learn more about and visit the national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Prairie Naturalist 17(2):83-90. The upperparts are sandy brown and the underparts and face are whitish. Here, thanks to the efforts of our partner Pronatura Noreste, ranchers in Mexico are now strategically moving cattle from pasture to pasture, mimicking natural processes that maintain habitat for grassland birds. Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes Mountain Plover - Charadrius montanus Despite its name, the mountain plover is not found in the mountains. Mammals and reptiles are the primary predators that threaten plover nests and chicks. Created in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, today's National Wildlife Refuge System protects habitats and wildlife across the country, from the Alaskan tundra to subtropical wetlands. Fish and Wildlife Service has a long tradition of scientific excellence and always uses the best-available science to inform its work to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitat for the benefit of the American public. The Mountain Plover is a ground-nesting small-bodied shorebird endemic to the shortgrass prairie of the Great Plains—meaning it is only found there. The Migratory Bird Program is responsible for maintaining healthy migratory bird populations for the benefit of the American people. The American Golden-Plover, Black-bellied Plover, Pacific Golden-Plover, Piping Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Snowy Plover and the Wilson's Plover are native to the continent. Nesting on high, dry plains of western North America, this species is a companion of classic prairie wildlife like bison, pronghorn, and prairie dogs. Mountain plovers have been found in taller grasses at sites that were heavily grazed or associated with prairie-dog colonies. A gregarious species, Mountain Plovers can often be found in loose flocks of up to several hundred birds, especially in winter. The remainder of potential habitat on this site is poor to good, but should be surveyed in the spring for Mountain Plovers. Sex in your Garden, by Angela Overy “In gardens, beauty is a by-product. REASON FOR CURRENT STATUS: The decline in population is due to a combination of factors --native grasslands being replaced by agriculture and urban development; early spring plowing and planting on dryland nesting sites; grazing practices that encourage taller grasses and forbs; and loss of prairie dogs and other burrowing rodents. 1987. Species Account Number 201. Ranchers are also a key to the survival of this species, as well as Long-billed Curlew and other grassland birds. Like other plovers, including the Piping Plover, the Mountain Plover feeds on the ground. One member of the weasel family, the black-footed ferret, deserves special mention. Unlike most shorebirds, this species spends most of its life avoiding the shoreline, and despite its name, it is not associated with mountains. Most of the birds winter in California in an area with high rates of human population growth. But with a great number of prairie dogs eliminated throughout their range, mountain plover habitat has also been severely restricted. Olson, S.L. Adults will lead chicks away from the nest scrape to seek shaded, sheltered spots under tall vegetation or even in the shadow of a nearby water tank. The program comprises 12 National Fish Hatcheries. The main business is sex and death.” —Sam Llewelyn With the accuracy of a botanist and the flair of a Madison Avenue advertising agency, Angela Overy (yes, that’s her real name) has produced an exceptional guide to plants and sex. 211 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds. External Affairs staff in the Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Mountain plover (Charadrius montanus) Species description: The mountain plover (Charadrius montanus) is a migratory bird slightly smaller than an American robin and is native to short-grass prairie and shrub-steppe landscapes. While national wildlife refuges were created to protect wildlife, they are for people too. The U.S. Hawks and snakes will kill and eat chicks. Plovers are found throughout North America. Our site uses cookies to collect anonymous information about your use of our website. DESCRIPTION: The mountain plover is about the size of a killdeer.  Its back and top of head is brown; its forehead is white.  During the breeding season, a distinct black line can be seen from the base of bill to eye.  Their underside is mostly white.  They have long, erect legs.  They are rarely found near water.  "Prairie Ghost" is their nickname as they disappear from view by facing away from an observer and squatting motionless. Donate to support ABC's conservation mission! It often associates with livestock, which attract and stir up insects. Mountain Plover… RANGE: Historically, the mountain plover bred throughout short-grass prairies of the western Great Plains from Montana to New Mexico and Texas.  Mountain plovers disperse widely during the winter months. adjacent promenades) or the seashore. Black Bear Grizzly Bear Mountain Lion Other Predators: The Gray Wolf The Wolverine STATUS: The mountain plover was proposed for listing in 1999 (Federal Register 64:7587-7601).  In 2003 the mountain plover was removed from the list of species proposed for listing. Law enforcement is essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation. Mountain Plovers Nest in Stereo. Mountain plovers disperse widely during the winter months. The Mountain Plover is 20–24 cm (8–9.5 inches) long and weighs about 105 grams (3.7 ounces). On the breeding grounds, Mountain Plover conservation depends on the protection of suitable nesting habitat and nest sites as well as prairie dog protection. One of these conservation methods is to promote cattle grazing practices that mimic the natural effects of bison. Plover chicks can run and feed themselves almost immediately after hatching. A significant percentage of the Mountain Plover's global population winters in the Chihuahuan Grasslands of Mexico. The U.S. The American Golden-Plover shares its Arctic breeding grounds with a wide variety of other migratory shorebird species, including the Red Knot, Sanderling, and Dunlin. ).  The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, and the American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC. dogs, humans) could gain access to the plover's breeding grounds from inland (e.g. 1999. 1985. Their nests are simple scrapes in the ground, and though their eggs are well-camouflaged, they are vulnerable to predators such as coyotes, foxes, and ground squirrels. ... Mountain Plover. The understated, elegant sandy plumage of the Mountain Plover blends perfectly with its pale shortgrass and desert surroundings—when alarmed, this bird often simply sits down and disappears. Other insect prey includes crickets, beetles, and flies. To compensate for this high rate of loss, Mountain Plovers have developed an interesting behavioral adaptation. The main predators on eggs are coyotes (Canis latrans) and swift fox (Vulpes velox).  Hawks and snakes will kill and eat chicks.  Mortality also occurs from hail, aircraft strikes and overheating.
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