Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes I took these pictures (Figs. 01 & 02) on 5/19/2018 while walking in the Pittman Wash in Henderson, NV. Located in suburban Henderson, the Pittman Wash follows what is usually a dry wash through residential neighborhoods for nearly 2 miles. This large natural watercourse, sometimes wider than the Las Vegas Wash, carries flood waters from the Mount Potosi area of the Southwest Valley, to the Las Vegas Wash, and ultimately into Lake Mead. To read about the wash click here ... Pittman Wash - Summary Page.

Description: The killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) is a medium-sized plover. Killdeer have a characteristic large, round head, long tail, long flesh-colored legs, and long wings. The bill is short, dark, and thick. Plumage is brownish-tan on dorsal areas and white on the ventral belly and chest; the neck is also surrounded by a white collar. Two large, dark bands surround the upper breast with an additional band located on the head, spanning both the forehead and the area above the bill and continuing around the back of the head. The tail is brown with a black subterminal band, a white terminal band, and white outer tail feathers. Additional defining plumage characters include a brightly colored red-orange rump that is visible during flight and displays, white wing stripes visible during flight. Appearance does not vary between males and females, although breeding females may have additional brown plumage on the head. Juveniles resemble adults with the exception of buff fringe feathers and the presence of only one neck band (Figs. 1 & 2). An adult killdeer range in length from 9.1–10.6 inches with a wingspan averaging 19 in. The largest ringed plover, killdeer weigh 3.1 oz on average. The killdeer frequently uses a "broken wing act" and piteous cries they indulge in to draw potential predators away from nests and chicks.

During nesting season killdeer use open dry uplands, open areas where vegetation is short or absent, and meadows. In addition, killdeer use open wetland habitat and savannahs, selecting dry bare ground and dry ground with vegetation within wetland areas. Nesting habitat is characterized as having enough nest materials to form a scrape but otherwise having little or no vegetation. They are migratory in northern areas and winter as far south as northern South America.

(Fig. 02)