Mountain Plover
(Charadrius montanus)


Picture of bird
© Cliff A Wallis
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

In Canada, the endangered Mountain Plover breeds only in the extreme south of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The first nest was found in 1979. Few data are available to assess trends for the small population in Canada, but the species has shown large decreases in abundance relative to about 1970 in the United States. Loss of native short-grass prairie is believed to have played a dominant role in the declines, and continues to threaten the species. The species was designated Endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada in 1987 (re-confirmed in 2000 and 2009, COSEWIC). This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
COSEWIC (Canada)Endangered2009 
SARA (Canada)Endangered2003 
IUCN (Global)Near threatened2012 
Wild Species (Canada)At Risk2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Canada< 50 adults (includes birds breeding and migrating within Canada)

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation of world population

CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

The Mountain Plover is a species of short-grass prairie which prefers disturbed habitats with exposed ground. Conversion of grasslands to cropland (especially winter wheat) and changing land management practices that favour taller grasses have been detrimental to the species (Knopf and Wunder 2006). The species is often associated with prairie dog towns, which offer the preferred disturbed habitat; a more than 90% decline in prairie dog abundance in some areas has reduced the availability of habitat for Mountain Plovers (Dinsmore 2003). For information on the legal status of this species under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) and to view the Recovery strategy, see the SARA Registry.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Prairie PotholesPrairie Potholes, sub-region and priority type: Prairie and Northern Region