Crab Plover

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(Redirected from Dromadidae)
Crab Plover
Conservation status: Lower risk (lc)
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Charadriiformes
Family:Dromadidae
Genus:Dromas
Species:D. ardeola
Binomial name
Dromas ardeola
(Paykull, 1805)

The Crab Plover (Dromas ardeola) is a bird related to the waders, but sufficiently distinctive to merit its own family Dromadidae. Its relationship within the Charadriiformes is unclear, some have in close to the Thick-knees, or the pratincoles, or even closer to the auks and gulls. It is the only member of the genus Dromas (Paykull, 1805).

Description

This bird resembles a plover, but has very long grey legs and a strong heavy black bill similar to a tern. It's bill is unique among waders, and specialised for eating crabs. It has partially webbed toes. The plumage is white except for black on its back and in the primary feathers of the wings. They are noisy birds, calling frequently on their breeding sites and in their wintering grounds.

Range and Behaviour

It is resident on the coasts and islands of the Indian Ocean, where it feeds on crabs and other small animals. They are gregarious and will feed in large groups, at night and during dawn and dusk as well as during the day; this crepuscular and nocturnal behaviour is more common during the breeding season. They breed around the Persian Gulf, Red Sea and Somalia in the months of April to July then disperse across the Indian Ocean in August as far as the Andaman Islands and Sri Lanka in the east and Tanzania and Madagascar.

The Crab Plover is unusual for for waders in that it nests in burrows in sandy banks. It is a colonial breeder, nesting in colonies as large 1500 pairs. It lays one white egg, occasionally two, which are large for its body size. The chicks are also unique for waders in being unable to walk and remain in the nest for several days after hatching, having food brought to them. Even once they fledge they have a long period of parental care afterwards.

References

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