SIB “Bird of the Week” – Killdeer

Killdeer – Charadrius vociferus
Length:  10.5″; Wingspan: 24″; Weight: 3.3 oz.

Killdeer Chick - Ed Konrad
Killdeer Chick – Ed Konrad

I was birding at a horse pasture and was amazed to discover birds I had been searching for at the shore. They were Killdeer. I discovered that the Killdeer are the least water dependent of all shorebirds and can often be seen in farm fields where they can easily find insects. Killdeer also eat snails, crayfish, grasshoppers, beetles and worms.

Killdeer in a field - Ed Konrad
Killdeer in a field – Ed Konrad

The Killdeer is easy to recognize with their double black neckband (that look like necklaces), rusty rump and white belly. It has a slim shape with long wing and tail feathers. It also has a bright red eye ring and thin beak.

The Killdeer’s nest is a scrape or bare depression in the ground. It may add rocks, shells and other materials to the nest. To protect their nests the Killdeer will fly a short distance away and appear to have a broken wing, luring the threat away.  Most noticeable among the Killdeer’s many calls is the high, plaintive kill-deer the bird is named for.

When searching for a bird, go to the food source. In the case of the Killdeer, you can find it on the shore, a parking lot, or most often a field with plenty of insects.

If you would like to learn more about this bird visit:

Article submitted by:  Lydia McDonald
Photographs provided by: Charles Moore & Ed Konrad

This blog post is part of a series SIB will publish on a regular basis to feature birds seen in the area, both migratory and permanent residents.  When possible we will use photographs taken by our members.    Please let us know if you have any special requests of birds you would like to learn more about.