When something approaches its nest, the Killdeer spreads its wings and tail, scolds and may even fly at it. If a potential predator comes very near, the bird tries to lure it away by playing wounded.


Roland Jordahl
Michael R. Duncan
Killdeer, chick


KilldeerRoland Jordahl
Roland Jordahl Killdeer

Scientific Name: Charadrius vociferus.
Family: Plover.
Length: 10-1/2 inches.
Wingspan: 24 inches.
Distinctive Markings: Brown back, white neck ring, two black bands across a white breast and a long tail with an orange rump that shows only in flight or display.
Nest: No nest. Its four eggs, heavily marked with brown spots, scrawls and blotches, are placed on open ground, where they blend in with the surroundings.
Voice: Noisy call of “kill-dee” and repeats “dee-dee-dee.”
Habitat: Lawns, cemeteries, parking lots, golf courses and cultivated fields, usually away from water.
Diet: Insects, and occasionally earthworms, crayfish and weed seeds.
Backyard Favorites: A protected gravel area where it can lay its eggs.

Bird Song & Range Map

Listen to the Killdeer’s song and learn where to spot them!

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Killdeer Bird SpeciesRange maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

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Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find her reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.