Little ringed plover

Little Ringed Plover

©Richard Steel/2020VISION

Little Ringed Plover with chick

©Derek Moore

Little Ringed Plover eggs

©Derek Moore

Little ringed plover

Scientific name: Charadrius dubius
The Little ringed plover first nested in the UK in 1938, but has since moved in happily! It has taken advantage of an increase in man-made flooded gravel pits, reservoirs and quarries that provide perfect habitats.

Species information


Length: 14-16cm
Wingspan: 45cm
Weight: 40g
Average lifespan: 4 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2021). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

March to July


A small, rotund wading bird, the Little ringed plover nests on bare gravel around flooded gravel pits, sandy riverbanks and reservoirs. Like other plovers, it forages for invertebrates and crustaceans in a particular way: standing and watching, running forward, pecking, then standing still again. It is a migrant species, arriving in this country in mid-March and leaving again in July.

How to identify

Daintier than the Ringed plover, the Little ringed plover has a black bill, pale, creamy-brown legs, and a bright yellow ring around the eye. It is sandy-brown above and white below, with a black chest-band and black bridle markings on the head.


A summer visitor to England and Wales.

Did you know?

Little ringed plovers first nested in the UK in 1938 and have successfully spread through England and Wales. This colonisation has been attributed to an increase in their preferred gravelly habitats - man-made flooded gravel pits, reservoirs and quarries have provided them with just the right breeding grounds.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.