Semipalmated Plover
(Charadrius semipalmatus)


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

The Semipalmated Plover is widespread and common, breeding across much of subarctic boreal North America, and wintering on coastal beaches across the Western Hemisphere. Migration monitoring surveys suggest that its population in Canada has changed little since about 1970, though these surveys sample an unknown portion of the Canadian population and do not cover the species’ entire range. The species’ adaptability and tolerance of human activities may contribute to the secure status of its population. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLittle ChangeMediumBelow Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada100,000 - 500,000 adults (includes birds breeding and migrating within Canada)

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Long-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between mid-May and early June and ends between mid-July and late July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

The Semipalmated Plover winters on coastal beaches throughout the Western Hemisphere, including many that are heavily developed. Disturbance of birds by humans and vehicles in some areas can be significant, but Semipalmated Plovers are less affected by disturbance than some other shorebirds (Pfister et al. 1992). Similarly, Semipalmated Plovers are tolerant to some disturbance on the breeding grounds; man-made structures such as road margins and gravel drill-pads are frequently used as nesting habitat (Nol and Blanken 2014). Protection from hunting in some countries and protection of key staging sites with resting and feeding areas will benefit the species (Nol and Blanken 2014).


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
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Ontario -- Other
Taiga Shield and Hudson PlainsTaiga Shield and Hudson Plains, sub-region and priority type: Quebec -- Other