Red-capped Plover

Scientific name: Charadrius ruficapillus
Family: Charadriidae
Order: Charadriiformes


The adult male Red-capped Plover has a bright reddish chestnut crown (centre of crown can be grey brown) and nape, and grey brown mantle. There is a black incomplete band running down from the chestnut nape to the sides of the breast and a black line from the bill through and past the eye. The legs and short fine bill are black. In flight there is a clear white wing bar and white outer tail.The female is duller in colour, missing the dark breast patches. Young birds are similar but paler than the adults. Other names for this species are Red-capped Dotterel, Red-necked Dotterel and Sand Lark.

Similar species

The Red- capped Plover is similar to the non-breeding Lesser Sand (Mongolian) Plover, C. mongolus, the Kentish Plover, C. alexandrinus, and the non-breeding and juvenile Double-banded Plover, C. bicinctus.The Red- capped Plover is small, has light upperparts and white underneath and the red cap of the male is diagnostic. Its short rear end gives it a compact shape and it often stands tall, with long legs.


The Red-capped Plover is widespread throughout Australia.


Wetlands, especially in arid areas, and prefers saline and brackish waters.

Seasonal movements

The Red-capped Plover is resident. Movements are poorly known, but it may move between the coast and inland wetlands.


The Red-capped Plover may be seen foraging for molluscs, small crustaceans and some vegetation, on mudflats, sandy beaches and salt-marsh.


The nest site of the Red-capped Plover is a shallow scrape on a beach or stony area, nearly always close to water. Sometimes the nest is protected by a small plant or some rubbish. The eggs are usually well camouflaged.