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White-fronted Plover Charadrius marginatus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Trend justification
The overall population trend is decreasing, although some populations have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2006).

Behaviour This species is both sedentary and partially migratory, with some populations undertaking local seasonal movements (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). In southern and eastern Africa adults of coastal populations are sedentary (Urban et al. 1986), although they often move from exposed to sheltered shores in the winter (Hockey et al. 2005). Inland populations in central and southern Africa are partially migratory and move to the east coast when rivers flood between December and May (del Hoyo et al. 1996) (in years of poor rainfall and little flooding these populations remain inland) (Urban et al. 1986). Other populations also undergo local movements in relation to water levels (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). During the non-breeding season this species usually remains in pairs or small flocks (Urban et al. 1986, Hockey et al. 2005), although it can be more gregarious, occasionally occurring in flocks of up to 375 individuals (Namibia) (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005). Breeding pairs are generally solitary and territorial, although nests can be as close together as 16 m (del Hoyo et al. 1996). This species is diurnal but may forage during bright moonlit nights (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat This species shows a preference for sandy seashores and coastal dunes (Urban et al. 1986), but is often found on rocky shores, coastal and inland mudflats, salt-pans, estuaries (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996), saline and brackish lagoons, and offshore islands (Johnsgard 1981). It is also occurs along sandy shores of large inland rivers and lakes (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) (both fresh water and alkaline) (Hayman et al. 1986). Diet The species is carnivorous, feeding on insects (such as sandflies, grasshoppers, termites, mosquito pupae and fairy shrimp larvae), gastropods, bivalves, bivalve siphons, crabs and other small crustaceans, isopods and worms (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005). Breeding site The nest of this species is a shallow scrape in the sand (Watson et al. 1997) usually more than 70 m above the high water mark (Watson et al. 1997, Watson et al. 1997), on dunes, sandbars, and occasionally in quarries (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005) or on roadside gravel (Johnsgard 1981).

This species is potentially threatened by habitat loss through wetland destruction and degradation (Hockey et al. 2005, Wearne and Underhill 2005). A considerable contraction of the species' inland range in Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique has already occurred due to altered river morphologies as a result of dam comstruction (Hockey et al. 2005); key wetland sites in southern Africa (for example Walvis Bay, Namibia) are being degraded through wetland reclamation for suburb and port development, and changes in the flood regime due to road building (Wearne and Underhill 2005); and Ghana wetlands are under threat from coastal erosion and proposed developments involving drainage and land reclamation (Johnsgard 1981). This species is also susceptible to nest disturbance by tourists and off-road vehicles due to its preference for nesting on coastal dunes (negative impacts on nestlings in such areas have been observed) (Watson and Kerley 1995, Wearne and Underhill 2005).

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1996. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Hayman, P.; Marchant, J.; Prater, A. J. 1986. Shorebirds. Croom Helm, London.

Hockey, P. A. R.; Dean, W. R. J.; Ryan, P. G. 2005. Roberts birds of southern Africa. Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa.

Johnsgard, P. A. 1981. The plovers, sandpipers and snipes of the world. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, U.S.A. and London.

Urban, E. K.; Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 1986. The birds of Africa vol. II. Academic Press, London.

Watson, J. J.; Kerley, G. I .H.; McLachlan, A. 1997. Nesting habitat of birds breeding in a Coastal Dunefield, South Africa and management implications. Journal of Coastal Research 13(1): 36-45.

Watson, J. J.; Kerley, G. I. H. 1995. A survey of the dune-breeding birds in the eastern Cape, South Africa. Ostrich 66(1): 15-20.

Wearne, K.; Underhill, L. G. 2005. Walvis Bay, Namibia: a key wetland for waders and other coastal birds in southern Africa. Wader Study Group Bulletin 107: 24-30.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Charadrius marginatus. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Charadriidae (Plovers)
Species name author Vieillot, 1818
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 4,440,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change