Plovers are water birds birds belonging to the subfamily Charadriinae. There are about 40 species, most of them called 'plover' or 'dotterel'. The closely related lapwing subfamily, Vanellinae, has another 20-odd species.
Plovers are found throughout the world, and have short bills. They wade in the water, and hunt by sight, rather than by feel as longer-billed waders like snipe do.
They feed mainly on insects, worms or other invertebrates. They use a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing of some other waders.
The plover group of birds has a defence against predators called false brooding. They sit on an imaginary nest site, changing position sometimes as if real eggs were under them.
The plover has been known to attack when the young are threatened. The birds secrete an acidic compound from a gland located in their mouth. On contact with skin causes a burning sensation.
- Perrins, Christopher (ed) 2004. The New Encyclopedia of Birds. Oxford University Press, Oxford.