Killdeer (Charadrius vociferous)

About the Bird

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Seen/Heard at
Decorah, Decorah North

Killdeer are ground foragers. They feed primarily on invertebrates year-round, including earthworms, snails, crayfish, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars, spiders, centipedes, fly larvae and aquatic insect larvae, although they will eat seeds. Cornell mentions that Killdeer have been seen eating dead minnows and hunting frogs.

Killdeer breed from early March through mid-August, depending on location. Males commonly begin creating a shallow depression or scrape in the ground. Once he is joined by a female, both work on the nest, adding rocks, bits of shell, sticks, and trash to the nest after egg-laying begins. Killdeer lay four to six dull tan to yellow-gray eggs per clutch and may produce up to three broods per year. Males and females incubate for 22-28 days and young leave the nest immediately after hatching. Killdeer lead their young to feeding areas, but are not known to feed their young. To learn more, visit Cornell’s website.

Bird Range Maps of North America
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003.
Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA. Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy – Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International – CABS, World Wildlife Fund – US, and Environment Canada – WILDSPACE.
Web Link:
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of North America:
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General Description
Killdeer are brown to light-brown on top. They have white underparts, white chests with two distinct black bands, brown crowns, white eyebrows, and bright orange-buff rumps and a white wing stripe at the base of their flight feathers.

Killdeer spend the summer in the Decorah area, nesting and raising young before migrating south to the southern United States, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. They depart for their wintering grounds between mid-September and early-November.

Length: 7.9-11.0 in/20-28 cm
Wingspan: 18.1-18.9 in/46-48 cm
Weight: 2.6-4.5 oz/75-128 g

Wing Design
Long and pointed. Killdeer wings have long pointed wings that fit somewhere between an active soaring wing and a high-speed wing.
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Range Map

Range Map