Hooded Plover

Habitat: Coastal, Wetland, Island, Salt Lake


In south-eastern Australia, the Hooded Plover prefers broad, flat, open sandy beaches with plenty of seaweed and backed by low sand dunes. 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.


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 lay their eggs in shallow scrapes in the sand, either on the upper beach or in adjacent backing sand dunes.


The Hooded Plover’s diet includes insects, sandhoppers (Orchestiasp.), small bivalves, and soldier crabs (Mictyris platycheles). They forage 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.


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. Breeding season is from August to February and can extend to April. Typically three eggs are laid, usually two days apart. Hatching is 28 days after the final egg is laid, and the downy young leave the nest within a day or two. The incubation period is longer than that of other Australasian-breeding plovers.