Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Crab Plover (Dromas ardeola)

Crab plover belong to family Dromadidae and order Charadriiformes. The Crab Plover is related to the waders. It resembles a plover but with very long grey legs and a strong heavy black bill similar to a tern.

Crab-plover or Crab Plover (Dromas ardeola) is a bird related to the waders, but sufficiently distinctive to merit its own family Dromadidae. It is the only member of the genus Dromas and is unique among waders in making use of ground warmth to aid incubation of the eggs.

It is 38 cm (15 in) in size. Males and females are not easily distinguished but males have a heavier and longer bill. Juveniles have the black on the mantle, greyish and remain in this plumage for a year. Flocks fly in lines or "V" formations

It has very long grey legs and a strong heavy black bill. It has black and white plumage, a long neck, partially webbed feet and a bill designed for eating crabs. Its black-and-white plumage and long-necked upright posture with heavy bill makes it distinctive and unmistakable. It has partially webbed toes. The plumage is white except for black on its back and in the primary feathers of the wings. 

Crab plover flies strongly and runs swiftly. Its black and white markings are striking and distinct in flight; the legs are long and the toes are partially webbed

Crab plovers are noisy, gregarious birds and they nest in colonies. They call frequently on their breeding sites and in their wintering grounds. The usual call is a ka similar to that of the Bar-tailed Godwit but repeated rapidly. Flocks may produce a whinnying sound that rises and at in the breeding season produce whistling kew-ki-ki notes

The species usually feeds singly or in loose groups, flocks occasionally foraging together on mudflats or in shallow water and gathering at communal high-tide roost sites Its diet consists predominantly of Fish, crabs, Squid and  other crustaceans, small molluscs and marine worms 

The female lays her single egg at the end of a burrow in a sandbank, often in a crab burrow. Although it is able to run around soon after hatching, the chick is cared for by both parents and fed in the burrow. It breeds from April to August in dense colonies 

Most of the species's activities occur in the early morning and late afternoon.The species inhabits sandy coastlines and islands, intertidal sandflats and mudflats, estuaries, lagoons and exposed coral reefs. Many individuals migrate  between August and November and return northwards between March and April

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