Double-banded Plover

Did you know?

The Double-banded Plover is the only migratory bird visiting Australia that breeds in New Zealand. All the others breed in the Northern Hemisphere.

Loud far-carrying 'pit', low double 'chip chip', soft low sliding upwards 'kwereep'.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
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Breeding season: 
August to December
Clutch Size: 
2 to 4 eggs
25 days
Nestling Period: 
26 days
Conservation Status
Basic Information
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What does it look like?

The Double-banded Plover is a small shorebird (wader). The breeding male is white below and grey brown above with two bands across its chest: a black upper band and a wider chestnut lower band. The forehead is white from the bill to the eye, with a black band running from eye to eye like a mask, and there is a white eyebrow. The legs are greenish-yellow and the short slender bill is black. The breeding female is duller in colour with a narrower frontal bar. In non breeding Double-banded Plovers, the chest bands fade from black to a dull grey and the chestnut almost becomes obscure. Immature birds lack chest bands. In flight, the underwings are white, and there is a narrow white wingbar on the upper wing and a dark tail with whitish outer feathers. Most birds seen in Australia are in the duller non-breeding plumage. This species is also known as the Double-banded Dotterel and in New Zealand it is known as the Banded Dotterel.

Similar species: 

The Double-banded Plover is the only plover in Australia with two breast bands or two broken bands or tabs when not breeding. It also has a more upright stance than most other small plovers. Non-breeding and juvenile birds can be confused with non-breeding and juvenile Lesser Sand (Mongolian) Plovers, C. mongolus, or Greater Sand Plovers, C. leschenaultii.

Where does it live?

In Australia, the Double-banded Plover is found mainly on the east coast and Tasmania and is a regular visitor to Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands. It has been recorded occasionaly in Western Australia. It is widespread throughout New Zealand.


The Double-banded Plover is found on coastal beaches, mudflats, sewage farms, river banks, fields, dunes, upland tussock grasses and shingle.

Seasonal movements: 

The Double-banded Plover migrates to New Zealand where it breeds and moves back to south-eastern Australia in the winter.

What does it do?

Double-banded Plovers eat molluscs, crustaceans, insects, and occasionally seeds and fruit.


The Double-banded Plover breeds in New Zealand and the nest site is a scrape in the ground lined with stones, particulalry on braided river beds (having small channels separated by gravel bars). It is highly faithful to a nest site. Both parents incubate and chicks forage close to the nest.

Living with us

Double-banded Plovers are secure in Australia, but nesting sites on braided rivers are threatened by flood mitigation works and invasive trees such as willow.

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