Manitoba Bird Bird Atlas: Species At Risk

Piping Plover

Early Breeding and Last Migration Dates

South: Regions 1 to 8 Central: Regions 9 to 12 North: Regions 13 and 14
Early Breeding Last Migration Late Breeding Early Breeding Last Migration Late Breeding Early Breeding Last Migration Late Breeding
May-06 May-21 Jul-26 May-06 May-21 Aug-01

Breeding Evidence

Piping Plover males fly wide figure-of-eight circuits over their territories. The male digs several nest scrapes to attract a mate. Courtship flights begin before dawn and continue well into the night.

The nests are pebble-lined scrapes (see image b) on wide sections of open, pebbled, sand beaches and exposed alkaline mudflats. Nests are frequently washed-out due to wave action, heavy rains, and spring flooding. Many first clutches are destroyed; the females may lay up to three clutchees, but breeding pairs fledge only one chick.

Both parents brood the chick for the first week after which the female usually deserts and the male cares for the chick until it fledges at about 25 days.

Habitat

Breeding Evidence Map

Piping Plovers nest just above the normal high-water mark on exposed sandy or gravelly beaches. On the prairies, nesting occurs on gravel shores of shallow, saline lakes and on sandy shores of larger prairie lakes. Seeps also provide important foraging habitat on the prairies. This species apparently require very wide beaches or large areas of habitat where their camouflage strategy (nest on open ground) works to good effect. Narrow linear beaches presumably make it too easy for predators to find eggs and young. For this reason, fluctuating water levels play an important role for those populations nesting on the shores of large lakes. High water years are important to reduce vegetation growth, although they may prohibit nesting at some sites, and low water years with wide exposed beaches are essential for productivity.

In Manitoba, special conservation areas have been established at Clandeboyne Bay in Lake Manitoba and Long Point on Lake Winnipeg. As well, artificial nest islands have been constructed at West Shoal Lake and Oak Hammond Marsh. The Manitoba population however has plummetted and now only a few pairs are thought to occur here.

-from COSEWIC and The Birds of Manitoba (p. 165)