piping plover, credit: Dan Irizarry CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Endangered Provincially and Nationally


• Small shorebird with stubby orange bill with black tip; black breast band and head band; bright orange legs; white belly; back, wings and tail are the colour of pale sand which blends in with beaches
• Nests on dry sandy or gravelly beaches just above the reach of water and waves
• Eats mostly insects and small crustaceans


• Breeds along shores of the Great Lakes and in Lake of the Woods area


• Habitat loss and degradation
• Human disturbance
• Storm surges and severe weather


• Provincially protected under the Endangered Species Act, 2007
• Federally protected under the Species at Risk Act, 2002 and under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994


Over the past 50 years, piping plovers vanished from almost all known nest sites on the Great Lakes, but protection efforts have helped repopulate some former breeding sites in Ontario.