Ringed plover walking in shallow water

Common ringed plover

Common ringed plovers are small waders, which suddenly seem to appear on an apparently empty beach; brightly patterned, yet not conspicuous. A species of the sub-arctic coastline, they breed on wide, sandy flats known as Machair in the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland, where they perform a curious slow-winged ‘butterfly’ flight accompanied by a wheezing call.

Numbers declined during the twentieth century, with the rise in seaside recreation, although ringed plovers managed a degree of damage limitation by diversifying inland to farmland, reservoirs and gravel pits.

Scientific name: Charadrius hiaticula

Rank: Species

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The Common ringed plover can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Arctic, Asia, Europe, Mediterranean, North America, Russia, United Kingdom. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Common ringed plover distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1