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          Hooded Plover

          Thinornis rubricollis
          Charadriidae

          In eastern Australia, the Hooded Plover inhabits sandy ocean beaches that are exposed to the constant might of the swell. There they pick tiny invertebrates from the sand near the water’s edge, and they lay their eggs in shallow scrapes in the sand, either on the upper beach or in adjacent backing sand dunes. West of the Nullarbor Plain, Hooded Plovers are also often recorded on ocean beaches, but they are just as likely to be seen foraging at salt lakes, sometimes hundreds of kilometres from the coast.

          To find out more about BirdLife Australia's work with the Hooded Plover, click here.

          Identification

          Description

          The Hooded Plover is a medium-sized sandy-brown plover. It has a black head and a white nape, and the black hindneck collar extends around and forks onto the breast. The underparts are white. The iris is dark brown, with a red eye ring. The legs are pink. Males and females are similar. Juveniles look like adults, but without the black head, hindneck and front of mantle, which are sandy-brown instead. Juvenile legs are pale orange. This species is also known as the Hooded Dotterel or Hoody. The genus name used to be Charadrius.

          Similar Species

          The Hooded Plover is similar to the Sanderling. The juvenile Hooded Plover is distinguished from the Sanderling by having brown, more uniformly marked plumage and behaving in a plover-like fashion i.e. it bobs its head up and down when looking for food, and runs quickly and stops suddenly.

          Location

          Distribution

          The Hooded Plover occurs on sandy beaches between Jervis Bay, New South Wales and the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, as well as in Tasmania and between Esperance and Perth in south-west Western Australia.They are not abundant.

          Habitat

          In Victoria, the highest densities of Hooded Plovers occur on beaches with large amounts of beach-washed seaweed. Densities are lowest on narrow, steep beaches, where there are few or no dunes, and where human activities are most intensive. In the south-west, they also occur on inland salt lakes.

          Behaviour

          Feeding

          The Hooded Plover's diet includes insects, sandhoppers (Orchestiasp.), small bivalves, and soldier crabs (Mictyris platycheles). It forages at all levels of the beach during all tide phases. It is most usually seen in pairs or small groups, darting about at the water's edge as waves recede, bobbing and pecking along the shore.

          Breeding

          The Hooded Plover excavates a shallow scrape in sand or fine gravel situated above the high-tide mark on ocean beaches or among dunes. This nest may be encircled or lined with pebbles, seaweed and other beach debris. Usually one or two eggs hatch after about 30 days of incubation and the downy young leave the nest within a day or two. Its incubation period is longer than that of other Australasian-breeding plovers.

          Conservation Status

          Federal

          Vulnerable

          NSW

          Critically Endangered

          NT

          Not present

          QLD

          Not present

          SA

          Vulnerable

          TAS

          Secure

          VIC

          Vulnerable

          WA

          Secure

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