The sand-colored Mountain Plover is misnamed as it is found on flat land, not in mountains. Unlike most plovers, it prefers dry habitat with short grass and bare ground. These birds are often associated with prairie dog towns and areas of cattle concentration.
The most severe threats to this species are habitat loss and degradation caused by agriculture, development, and the absence of grazers (prairie dogs, bison, and grasshopper swarms) that historically kept grass short. Nests on cultivated land can also be destroyed by farm machinery. Native predators, especially the swift fox, limit the bird’s productivity in some parts of its range.
Conservation actions to benefit the Mountain Plover include protection and restoration of native grasslands. Controlled grassland burning in both the breeding and wintering ranges can also be beneficial. ABC and Mexican partner Pronatura Noreste have protected important wintering habitat for the species through land purchase, conservation easements on community owned lands (ejidos), and helping local cattle ranchers implement best management practices.
You can help the Mountain Plover by joining our Spring 2013 Fundraising Challenge. We urgently need your support to conserve prairie grasslands and other critical bird habitats.
Help this and other birds and their habitats by supporting ABC!