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Photo by Tom Grey

Bird of the Month: Killdeer

Become a bird expert! Every month we feature a different bird species of the San Francisco Bay Area. You can learn how to identify local birds and find out fun facts about our amazing feathered friends. Click on the pictures at the bottom of the page to learn about birds from previous months, and check back each month to see the latest species of interest!

Name: Killdeer

Size: 8-11 inches

Wingspan: 18-19 inches

Diet: earthworms, grasshoppers, beetles and snails

Habitat: Open areas, especially sandbars, mudflats, pastures, cultivated fields, athletic fields, airports, golf courses, gravel parking lots, and graveled rooftops.

Field Markings: White band on forehead, black band above it going from eye to eye.

Fun Facts: To distract a predator from its nest, the killdeer pretends to have a broken wing and hops away from the nest. When the predator is far enough from nest, the killdeer flies away. Their eggs are also protected by camoflauge -- eggs are speckled like rocks to blend in with the ground where they nest.

Status: Because it is willing to nest close to people and adapts well to human-modified habitats, the killdeer isn't endangered.

Migratory Route: Year round resident of the US