Birds of the World – Killdeer

One of the best known of all North American Plovers is the Killdeer (Oxyechus vociferus), which differs from the members of the last genus, with which, however, it is often placed, by the much longer tail, this being nearly two thirds as long as the wing. It is grayish brown above, with the rump ochraceous, the forehead, a stripe over the ear, chin, throat, a collar around the hind neck and the under parts white, while the crown, a neck collar, and a broad breast-band are black; the length is about ten and a half inches. The Killdeer is found throughout the whole of temperate North America, whence it migrates in winter to Central and South America and the West Indies. It is a noisy, restless bird, frequenting pastures, meadows, cultivated fields, and open prairie, often in the vicinity of water, and running rapidly over the ground or taking to swift flight when disturbed. Its peculiar and oft-repeated ringing note, resembling the words kill-dee, kill-dee, is heard constantly wherever it is present, often even at night. It is suspicious and constantly on the alert, especially during the breeding season, when it resents all intrusion, and gives voice to loud vociferation. The nest is a mere hollow located in open ground and lined often with a few grass stems; the eggs are the usual four.