Red-capped plover

Red-capped plover
Image: Patrick Kavanagh
Community type

Succulent herbland

Habitat type

Saltmarsh and tidal flats

Red-capped plovers are one of the smallest examples of a highly diverse and abundant group of birds that inhabit coastal areas, beaches and mudflats, collectively known as shorebirds. Many shorebirds are migratory, travelling vast distances between summer breeding grounds and winter feeding grounds. However, the red-capped plover is one of the few resident shorebirds that live in or near Derwent estuary saltmarsh all year round. They are a commonly sighted bird at Lauderdale saltmarsh, and nest, roost and forage in the saltmarsh, along the shoreline, and on tidal flats of Ralphs Bay. Easily identified by their brightly coloured ‘cap’, this plover is often seen in breeding pairs. They walk in quick bursts, then peck around on the surface of the mud collecting small invertebrate prey. Amphipods account for the greatest percentage of Red-capped Plover prey, followed by polychaete worms, small insects, and small crabs.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.