African Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend is not known, but the population is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 70,000-140,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2014).

Trend justification
The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes.


Behaviour The migratory status of this species is poorly known (del Hoyo et al. 1996) but some populations may undergo partial intra-African dispersive movements in response to rainfall (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005). The species breeds opportunistically throughout the year although nesting usually peaks between April and September in the tropics and between July and December in the south (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It nests in solitary pairs with territories (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996) stretching 80-150 m along the shore (Hockey et al. 2005), and usually forages singly, in pairs or in small flocks of 6-10 up to 20 individuals (very rarely in larger groups of 40 individuals) (Urban et al. 1986). It roosts solitarily or in groups (del Hoyo et al. 1996), occasionally forming loose roosting flocks of more than one hundred individuals in the winter (Hockey et al. 2005). Habitat The species requires clear, firm sand, mud or gravel shores for nesting, foraging and roosting (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996). It inhabits the edges of inland freshwater lakes (del Hoyo et al. 1996), temporary or muddy pools (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996) and rivers (del Hoyo et al. 1996), streams with shingle banks (Johnsgard 1981), and the margins of artificial water-bodies (e.g. sewage tanks) (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It also occurs along the coast on the edges of intertidal mudflats (Johnsgard 1981, Langrand 1990), sandy beaches (Johnsgard 1981, del Hoyo et al. 1996), coastal lagoons, estuaries (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Hockey et al. 2005), tidal pools (Hockey et al. 2005), and mangroves (Langrand 1990) where shows a preference for the least saline areas (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Diet Its diet consists of adult and larval aquatic and terrestrial insects, crustaceans, small molluscs and worms (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site The nest is a simple scrape placed on sand, dry mud (del Hoyo et al. 1996), shingle (Hayman et al. 1986) or on rocks close to water (del Hoyo et al. 1996).


The species may be susceptible to future outbreaks of avian botulism (Blaker 1967).


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Charadrius tricollaris. Downloaded from on 28/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/09/2023.