Snowy Plovers – North America’s Smallest Plover

Snowy Plover in seashellsSnowy Plover in seashells – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/800, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

A while back I did a post on the Least Sandpiper which is the world’s smallest sandpiper so I thought I would do a post about North America’s smallest plover, the Snowy Plover. As adults these plovers are about 7.25 inches in length and weigh approximately 1.4 ounces or close to the weight of 7 U.S. quarters. They are very pale and blend in very well in the light sandy habitat they prefer.

I didn’t really sand crawl to get this low angle image, it was more like a “seashell slither” which is a bit uncomfortable. Okay, more than a bit but I have a high pain tolerance level.

Snowy Plover in early morning lightSnowy Plover in early morning light – Nikon D200, handheld, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light

I found it amazing to lay still and watch these small plovers as they foraged, preened, yawned, walked and rested through my view finder because they seem so tiny and delicate.

Unfortunately Snowy Plover populations are declining due to human disturbance and habitat destruction. I feel like I write those words often (far too often) about so many different bird species. Didn’t I write that yesterday about the Greater Sage-Grouse?


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Love these pics! The bottom looks like it is standing on snow.

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  3. They are adorable photos, Mia! I would like to add this bird to my life list. Have a happy weekend!

  4. Such beautiful little birds and beautiful photos, Mia!

  5. Thank you. Another enchanting little bird. The world is diminished when we lose a species. It makes my heart hurt.

  6. a precious little guy.. great photo Mia.. sad we are losing so many

  7. Mia, I chased this little bird last winter with no luck. Hopefully, I’ll see my first one this year. Fantastic shots! I tried that seashell slither but I am apparently not a very adept “slitherer”!

  8. “Due to human disturbance”…another strong twist of heartache! How could we be willing to allow another creature, another life, something so cute, so special to be lost. It hurts!!!

  9. Fantastic Plovers Mia.

  10. Thanks for sharing your lovely images of these special little plovers.

    Your words about human disturbance and habitat destruction are constants here in Australia too.

  11. I especially like the second image – low angle, nice head turn, catch light, lovely light, blue and pinkish colors of the background.
    Surely there must be a rock band named the Seashell Slithers.

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