Appearance Kittlitz's Plover are small, 6" (15cm) birds and one of the smaller Plovers. They have sand-brown upperparts with well-defined buff-edged feathers. Rich-buff coloured underparts. The head has a distinctive black and white forehead and black eye-stripes that join at the bottom of the nape of the neck. Broad white stripe above the eye-stripes. White cheeks and neck. Long legs are pale green and bill is black.
Habits Kittlitz's Plovers are usually seen in pairs or small family groups after the breeding season. It moves very quickly on its long legs. Nests are a rudimentary scrape in the ground and both parents incubate the two eggs. They cover the eggs, when absent from the nest, but if an intruder is near, they feign a broken wing, moving away from the nest and drawing attention to themselves, before flying away.
Diet Kittlitz's Plovers stand stock still, then run on sight of insects and other invertebrates; earthworms, crustaceans, and molluscs.
Resident Kittlitz's Plovers are seen around most of Kenya's Rift Valley lakes, the lower Tana river and coastal mudflats. Always beside water, in short grass or mudflats. Some birds migrate to Europe, in large flocks of over 200 birds.
Extra Kittlitz's Plover Facts Heinrich von Kittlitz (1799 - 1874) was a German explorer and naturalist, who sailed the world onboard a Russian ship and gave his name to the Kittlitz's Plover, Murrelet, Rail and Thrush (the latter three are not seen in Kenya). The scientific name, pecuarius, means "grazer" (as in sheep or cattle), referring to the Kittlitz's Plover's grassland habitat.