Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
A scarce breeding species in lower-lying parts of the island group and most common on west Spitsbergen. Found usually on flat barren areas along the coasts and in the larger valleys. Can also be seen foraging in the tidal zones and then often on the river deltas. Usually occurs singly or in pairs. During autumn migration small groups of up to ten birds may be seen. The population is in excess of 500 pairs.
Features: 17-19,5 cm. A characteristic small wader with black and white pattern on the head and uniform brown back. In flight a distinct white wing-bar. The male and female are almost alike, but the male has somewhat more contrasting black and white markings on the head. Forages on the ground by running fast, and then standing quite still – a spasmodic way of moving typical of plovers. The young have brown and rather smaller markings around the head and have paler leg colour.
Breeding: Nests on barren ground. Four eggs are laid in a hollow on the ground, most often on sand or among small stones.