Wild Birds

White-fronted Plovers or White-fronted Sandplover

The White-fronted Plovers or White-fronted Sandplover, Charadrius marginatus, is a small wader. This plover is resident in much of Africa south of the Sahara on rocky, sandy or muddy coasts and large inland rivers and lakes.



Adults are 16-18 cm in length and are paler than similar species.

The breeding adult has medium brown upperparts, with a white hind neck collar and a brilliant white forehead extending back in a conspicuous wedge between the eye and the crown.

There is a black line through the eye and a black frontal bar to the crown. The underparts are white with a variable cream or buff wash to the breast.

There may be rufous patches on the breast sides. The bill is black and the legs are yellowish-grey.

Non-breeding adults are greyer than the breeding birds, and the black head markings are replaced by brown. The frontal bar may be absent in some females.

The juvenile White-fronted Plover resembles the non-breeding adult but has white underparts and no black on the head.

There are five subspecies, which vary in the color shade of the neck collar, and breast.

Breeding / Nesting

The White-fronted Plovers breeding habitat is sandy beaches; the eggs are laid directly on the sand and may be buried.

The adults will take water to the nest in their breast feathers. It feeds actively with fast runs like a Sanderling, usually hunting by sight for insects, crustaceans, and worms.

This is a gregarious species which forms flocks, often with other waders.

Calls / Vocalization

The call is a clear wiit, and there is a tukut alarm note.


  • Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1
  • Hayman, Marchant and Prater Shorebirds ISBN 0-395-60237-8

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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