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Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)

The piping plover (Charadrius melodus) is a small, handsome shorebird (about seven inches long) found on sandy beaches and dunes in southern Maine. Its back is a uniform sandy brown color. The underside is white, and is interrupted by a single narrow black band around the neck. The bill is short and orange with a black tip. The legs are orange. The semipalmated plover, a common migrant on beaches in late summer, is similar in appearance, but has a darker brown head and back and a wide brown or black collar.

Summer visitors to southern Maine beaches have a good opportunity to see piping plovers. Signs, fenced sections of beach, and nest exclosures identify areas of the beach that are being managed for nesting piping plovers. By giving the birds space and following a few rules of beach etiquette, we can share the beach with this endangered species.

Read the MDIF&W fact sheet on Piping Plovers to learn more

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