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Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus
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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 may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to 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)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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 population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Behaviour This species is fully migratory (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It migrates to winter in African between August and October, and once within Africa moves south in a nomadic fashion following the dry season (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species departs from southern Africa in late-February to early March, and from East and south-east Africa in late-March to early-April, frequenting stop-over sites in Iran, Iraq, the Arabian Peninsula and the Red Sea (it over-flies this Middle Eastern region during the Autumn migration), arriving in the breeding grounds again from late-March to early-May (del Hoyo et al. 1996). On migration the species usually moves in flocks of 5-12 (and sometimes up to 30) individuals, and whilst over-wintering in Africa it moves in Nomadic flocks of 5-20 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 1996). When breeding this species may nest singly or in small loose colonies of 10-25 pairs spaced at least 50-60 m apart (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Habitat Breeding This species breeds in desert and desert steppe near water amongst sparse shrub vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996) up to about 800 m (Snow and Perrins 1998). It is primarily associated with saline habitats such as salt-pans, saline soils subject to seasonal flooding (del Hoyo et al. 1996), inland saltmarshes (Johnsgard 1981) and alkali flats (Flint et al. 1984). The species concentrates in flocks after breeding but whilst still in its breeding range on the banks of lakes, rivers, water-holes trampled by cattle (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and cultivated land (Hayman et al. 1986). Non-breeding In its non-breeding range (Africa) the species is often found far from water on recently burnt or heavily grazed grassland, dry floodplains, ploughed cultivated land, coastal dunes (Somalia) (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005), the dried mud of lake shores (Hayman et al. 1986), salt-pans, saltmarshes, (Hockey et al. 2005) airfields and golf courses (where it is attracted by insects on animal droppings) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). During migration the species has been recorded on damp sandbanks and pebble beds along the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe (Hockey et al. 2005). Diet The species is primarily carnivorous throughout both the breeding and non-breeding seasons. Breeding Whilst breeding the species takes mainly adult and larval insects (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996) such as beetles, ants, grasshoppers, bugs, caterpillars and flies, although it will occasionally take plant material (e.g. grass seeds) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Non-breeding During the non-breeding season beetles, termites, grasshoppers and small snails are the main contributors to this species diet, and it is often observed hunting for insects in town refuse heaps and cattle dung (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest of this species is a shallow scrape on open ground or amongst low vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

The main threat to this species is the destruction of natural steppe and grassland though overgrazing and conversion to intensive agricultural practices, especially within the European (breeding) part of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., and 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.

Flint, V.E., Boehme, R.L., Kostin, Y.V. and Kuznetsov, A.A. 1984. A field guide to birds of the USSR. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

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

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

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

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

Snow, D.W. and Perrins, C.M. 1998. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Volume 1: Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Urban, E.K., Fry, C.H. and Keith, S. 1986. The Birds of Africa, Volume II. Academic Press, London.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

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 asiaticus. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Caspian plover (Charadrius asiaticus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Charadriidae (Plovers)
Species name author Pallas, 1773
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 3,030,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment